Skip to main content

Full text of "Argus"

See other formats

;tern state university 


Digitized by the Internet Archive 
in 2013 

northwestern state university 

argus 2009 



'.* • 



To every student who submitted your work to Argus this year, thank you. We 
sincerely appreciate your participation and interest, whether your name appears 
in this book or not. You make it difficult to determine which pieces to include, 
and for that we are grateful. Only with your talent and contributions can we 
provide Northwestern with a wonderful literary magazine. 

Everyone that encouraged someone to submit something to Argus for consid- 
eration, we are forever in your debt. You are the ones who keep Argus going 
year to year. 

Thank you to each of the following: all of this year's judges, for your time and 
consideration, despite deadlines no one liked; Mr. Gary Hardamon, for lending 
your talent to capture the art for reproduction on the pages of the magazine; 
those that have been faithful friends of Argus for years, such as the faculty of 
the Fine and Graphic Arts Department, we are grateful for your continued as- 
sistance. To every professor that began this semester with a tired and stressed- 
out staff member in one of your classes, thank you for your understanding and 

We are especially grateful to Dr. Lisa Abney, Language and Communication De- 
partment Head and Dean of the Liberal Arts College, for her constant support 
and motivation. The world may never know how you do everything you do and 
still always have a smile, an encouraging endearment, and a hug for anyone 
who needs them. Dr. Sarah McFarland and Ms. Bobbie Jackson, a "thank you" 
for each time you unlocked the office door or helped to solve a logistical glitch 
we may never know about; we tried to keep track, but we can't count that high. 

To Dr. Julie Kane, a special thank you for your guidance and support to yet an- 
other Argus staff and for each problem that you solved along the way. We can 
only imagine the highs and lows, stress and smiles, that accompany working 
with such an independent staff. Know that we could not have done it without 
you; you truly are the unsung hero of this magazine. Thanks for bearing with us 
through the times we had you worried and the pleasant surprises. 

2009 Argus Staff 




20097IR2US SWF 


Faculty Advisor 

Katie* Magana 



Assistant Editor 

Laite King 

Design Editor 


Editorial Board 

K0H Fontenot 

Editorial Board 


Editorial Board 


Keisha Johnson 

Editorial Board 


Kcrtte Magaha 


Every year the staff of Argus faces a new set of challenges, and looks at them 
from the vantage point of an additional year of successes. Each editor looks 
to see what has been done before for guidelines and makes it up as he or she 
goes when new situations come along. I hope I'm the only editor to ever face 
redesigning fall's work in January because the bids came back too high to print 
the magazine. If years from now another editor in that position reads this, know 
that it can be done - but don't expect much sleep. 

Unfortunately, we can't wait to know just what that year holds in store before 
selecting a theme and beginning the processes of submission selection and 
layout design. Thus, all we had to work with for the year when the time came 
for Larrie to get started with design ideas were a couple of hurricane scares 
and the bumpy start to the fall semester caused by those storms. Walking the 
halls of Kyser and listening to conversations taking place I heard something 
that resounded within the works submitted to Argus last year, and that I could 
expect to see again this year: students reflecting on things turning out differ- 
ent. Things different in either a good way or a bad way; nonetheless, reality not 
lining up with hopes and expectations and leaving a void for conversation to 
fill. I wasn't sure how to capture this feeling that seemed to bind students in a 
common, though somewhat depressing, mood. How do we say in a positive 
way that art is often born out of artists' fears as well as hopes, disappointments 
as well as triumphs? Actually, I don't even remember how I explained to Larrie 
what I thought we needed to work with as he began sample covers and con- 
cepts for the inside design. When we met to look things over, however, Larrie 
had captured in a serious of images what I had struggled to put into words. As 
he described the image you see on the cover of this book he kept saying, "it's 
shattered. I don't know how to explain it but . . . 'shattered.'" Like the image, 
the title stuck. 


As you read through this edition of Argus, "Shattered," I hope that you come to 
understand two things. The first is that you are not alone in the feeling of "shat- 
teredness" that we all go through at some point in life. Secondly, as cliche as it 
sounds, beauty can come from brokenness; may you see that what has been 
shattered can be put back together again. Enter into this conversation with 
your friends and classmates and allow them to either share your pain or lift your 

RS. On a less universal, and much more personal, note: there are some people 
I would like to recognize. Dr. Kane - I meant what I said on the "Acknowledg- 
ments" page. Actually, I tried to put everything I wanted to say in there because 
I assumed many people would never read this far into my note. Larrie - I can 
never thank you enough for taking this on yet another year. You've taught me a 
lot throughout this process and always eagerly dealt with each new challenge 
I passed your way. The energy and talent you have brought to the staff each 
year is amazing. Although we hardly ever saw you, I knew I could count on you 
and that you'd have something great to share each time you appeared. Katie 
B - thanks for jumping in when you had no idea what working on Argus, much 
less acting as assistant editor, would hold in store. Keisha, Erin, Kelli, and Tim 

- thanks so much for your continued support and dealing with the last minute 
meetings and pushed back deadlines that made things tighter for us. Savanna 

- you may never read this, but it was you last year that first introduced me to 
Argus. Thanks so much; it's been quite the experience. Last, but certainly not 
least, Andi - it's been great to know that you are only a phone call, text mes- 
sage, or Facebook message away. You encouraged me to apply for editor last 
spring and that encouragement has never faltered throughout this year. I guess 
three weeks in a foreign country does seal a friendship. Gracias, mi amiga. 


2009/lRaJS JUDGES 

Prose Judges 

Dr. Lisa Abney 

Dr. Lisa Abney is Dean of the Liberal Arts College and Head of the Language 
and Communication Department. She is also an English professor, teaching 
courses in linguistics and folklore. Dr. Abney loves the opportunities she gets to 
work with students, both in the classroom and as a problem solver. 

Dr. Gary Bodie 

Dr. Gary Bodie enjoys teaching Medieval literature, including Beowulf, Chaucer, 
and Arthurian legend. He also teaches technical composition, focusing on legal 
and criminal justice topics. His primary research interests include studying the 
oral/literate nexus and the uses of modern computer technology in the study of 

Dr. Rocky Colavito 

J. Rocky Colavito is a professor of English and Director of University Writing 
programs at Butler University. 

Lori LeBlanc 

Lori LeBlanc earned her Master's degree in English with an emphasis in South- 
ern Culture and Folklore at NSU and is now an instructor at NSU's College of 
Nursing in Shreveport. She views her students as brilliant potentialities and 
delights in seeing their successes. 


Pootry Judges 

Dr. William Broussard 

William Broussard, Ph.D. is an Associate Director of Athletics and Assistant 
Professor of Journalism and Public Relations at NSU. He is an avid writer and 
enjoys epistle writing, poetry, short fiction and creative non-fiction. 

Roxie James 

Roxie James received her Master's Degree in English Literature from North- 
western State University. She is now an adjunct professor in the Language and 
Communication Department. 

Victoria Krista Jenkins 

A graduate of NSU, Krista Jenkins is currently an Instructor of English in the De- 
partment of Language and Communication. In addition to teaching and men- 
toring students, Krista enjoys spending time with her three children and working 
on her own creative writing projects. 

Dr. Sarah McFarland 

Dr. Sarah E. McFarland. believes, like Wordsworth does, that "poetry is the 
spontaneous overflow of powerful feelings: it takes its origin from emotion 
recollected in tranquility." She teaches American and environmental literatures 
at NSU. 


WsucMrts Judges 

This year's judges were all NSU Art faculty. Michael Yankowski teaches 
photography and design and has been at NSU for 22 years. Brooks Def-ee 
teaches painting, drawing, and photography and has been a faculty member 
for over 10 years. Matt DeFord has been a sculpture and ceramics teacher 
at NSU for 5 years and Isaac Powell is in his 3rd year teaching art founda- 
tions and drawing. All of the judges are practicing artists and exhibit their work 





1 st Place 

Yearbook by Jeff McAlpin 

2nd Place 

Boo-Hoo by Kimberly Cascio 

3rd Place 

Your Face by Adam Viator 

Honorable Mention 

A Mockingbird Finds Shelter For The Evening by Thomas Parrie 

Honorable Mention 

Craft Project by Tessa Brannon 


1 st Place 

Barry Trumble by Andrew Shirley 

2nd Place 

Like A Blister In The Sun by Kimberly Cascio 

3rd Place 

Basilone by Randall Frederick 
Honorable Mention 

Shade by Andrew Shirley 
Honorable Mention 

Camping With Ghosts by Adam Viator 


1 st Place 

Triumph of Set by Amber Lee 

2nd Place 

Within it All by Amanda Roe 

3rd Place 

Innocence by Amanda Crane 
Honorable Mention 

Her Pleasures the Sparks by Amber Lee 
Honorable Mention 

Where Do I Fit In The Plan? by Amanda Roe 

Boo Hoo 


Kimberly Cascio 

Your Face 

Adam Viator 

An Unusual Infatuation 


Kyle May 

From Generation 


Twonzetta Samuel 

To Generation 



Amanda Crane 

Dunn's Day At The Bakery 


Amy Ellender 

A Mockingbird Finds 


Thomas Parrie 

Shelter For The Evening 

The Sky And 1 


Keisha Johnson 



Adam Viator 

Endless Keys 


Erica O'Neal 

Craft Project 


Tessa Brannon 

A Whistle In The Fog 


John Lewis 



Cory Knippers 

Quite Contrary 


Sarah Hunt 

A Window 


Thomas Parrie 

Camping With Ghosts 


Adam Viator 

Tomorrow Morning 


Anna Stanfield 

A Lot Like Watching 


Keisha Johnson 

A Car Crash 

1 Would Run Miles 


Kimberly Cascio 



Amanda Sabala 

RoKKA/ TVl i m I^I/-n 

Andrew Shirley 

Sangamo Electric 


Erica O'Neal 

Mind Games 


John Stanton 

The Wheel Of The Year 


Tim Gattie 



Amanda Sabala 

River Of Change 


Tessa Brannon 

The Waiting Ones 


Amanda Roe 

Reaching Out 


Amber Lee 

Her Pleasures The Sparks 


Amber Lee 


Where Do 1 Fit In The Plan? 


Amanda Roe 

Triumph Of Set 


Amber Lee 

Within It All 


Amanda Roe 

Jellyfish And Single Neuron 


Amber Lee 



Katie Magaha 

Like A Blister In The Sun 

Kimberly Cascio 

Voices Of The Past 


Dustie Guillotte 

Scenes From A Sidewalk Cafe 


Kyle May 



Sarah Clarius 

The Basilone 

Randall Frederick 

Village Grandmother 


Katie Magaha 



John Stanton 



Jeff McAlpin 

AnrlrovA/ Qhirlov/ 

The Gnome Is No More, 


anarew ^niney 
Carly Maurin 

He Has Ceased To Be 

Reese's Pieces 


Randall Frederick 

The Anniversary 


Thomas Parrie 

The Little Girl In The 1 1 th Grade 


Amanda Sabala 

Thorns Have Roses 


Dustie Guillotte 

A Ghostly Maiden 


Paul Adams 

Hello Old Lover 


Peigen Drummond 

Spinning Wheel 


Amanda Crane 



LaKimbria Williams 



Tessa Brannon 

The Paramedic 


Adam Viator 

In The Window 


LaKimbria Williams 



Jonny Doom 

Winds Of The Past 


Kyle May 



Jeremy Richtofen 

Stockholm Syndrome 


Keisha Johnson 



Kimberly Cascio 

Just a few weeks ago, 

this meteor landed in the empty 

woods behind my house. 

It was glowing green and yellow, like 

a burning star with a sinus infection. 

And there it was, right in my backyard! 

I touched the rock, my hand 

tingled and a cold chill ran up my arm, it was 

just a slight 

blue power shock. 

This was the origin of 

my new superpowers: 

I can make anyone I touch 



out of all the superpowers, 

what kind of superpower is that? 

It comes in handy, though. 

You would be surprised how easy it is 

to rob banks with the tellers in tears. 

Your Fao0 

Adam Viator 

I like your face 
I mean I really 

Like your face 
I like your face like I like my favorite things 
Food Mostly: 
String Cheese Sunflower Seeds 
Jelly Bellies Vegetables Grilled Cheese Lasagna 

Biscuits Pancakes 

Sometimes I run experiments on your face, rearranging your nose 
I put it on your cheek, still beautiful 

I put it on your forehead, still beautiful 
I put it on your chin, still beautiful 

I put it on your other cheek, still beautiful 
You scrunch your face, wrinkle your nose, grimace your mouth. 
You don't like it when I move your nose 

You complain, "put it back" 
I oblige Your nose goes back to where it originally was, still beautiful 

(even though you've now got a normie nose) 
I like your face like I like cliches: 
the moon 

the stars 

the sun 
[poetic imagery here] 
I like your face when your lips purse for a kiss 
I like your face when your mouth contorts into a smile 

From (deration 
To (^Deration 

Twonzetta Samuel 

Big Granny told me 

She can turn around on a dime 

And give me 9c change. 

She also told me 

That "beauty is skin deep 

But ugly is to the bone." 

One time she told me 

"Many men rock a baby long 

Not knowing that he's not rocking his own. 

Big Granny told grandma 
Grandma told my mama 
And my mama 
Shocked me and told me... 

She brought me 

In this world 

And she can take me out! 

What was wrong with her?! 

Then, years later... 

I told my kids 

What my mama told me. 

It wasn't until then 
That I understood. 


Amanda Crane 

A McxWngbrd Finds 
Shelter Fa The Evening 

Thomas Parrie 

One winter night, while walking home, I noticed 

A mockingbird huddled against a building ledge. 

The wind wrapped itself around her grey overcoat. 

She tucked her head tighter into her wings as the 

Night thickened with cold. I walked on moving 

Away from her nest. She didn't notice 

Me pass as a wind whipped my face and I shuddered. 

The lightless lines of a borderless breeze, 

The fluttering of feathers flinging the air, 

I wish I was there— 

To tuck my head in her grey-black hair. 


Th0 Sky/lnd ! 

Keisha Johnson 

They say 

The sky's electric 



I feel electric 



The sky and I 

I think we're getting 


My thoughts are getting 


The rain falls with me 

My mind is rushed 

With anger 

The thunder moans 

For me 

There's a kin spirit 

Above me 

And I feel 

Like a child 

My tears descend 

Into the ever enduring street 

Gravity doesn't know the rain 
From my tears 

The sky and I 

We get along fine 

Separate space 

Same mind 
The sky knows 

I can't be held 

Or supported 

By anything but 

These hands 

The sky and I 

We are electric 

And limitless 

I think we are falling 



Adam Viator 

"Take only pictures and leave only footprints" was the mantra repeated ad 
nauseam in the wilderness of North Carolina. This seven-word summary is 
the most efficient way to describe the Wilderness Act of 1964. It was imple- 
mented "to establish a National Wilderness Preservation System for the per- 
manent good of the whole people" and, almost as an afterthought, "for other 
purposes." It instituted a place "untrammeled by man" where "the imprint of 
man's work [is] substantially unnoticeable." It is a place where you can sally 
forth, remove yourself from society, and live a harmonious existence off the land 
only after you investigate the laundry list of rules and regulations guarding the 
wilderness. Then, when you have sufficiently educated yourself into the proper 
etiquette of visiting nature, you can apply for the permit necessary to enter the 
wilderness. The rules are simple: walk in single file along the numerous man- 
made trails without deviating from its established course; camp only in desig- 
nated camping areas or on rocky or gravelly surfaces when available; leave all 
rocks, plants or otherwise natural objects undisturbed; don't kill the animals; 
avoid camp fires; and, above all, take nothing out that you did not bring in and 
take everything out that you brought in. And please, do try try try to avoid the 
very popular attractions as increasing foot traffic has severely impacted the 
pristine untouched quality of the backwoods wilderness. 

I was ready; it was time to venture into the great unknown. Time to cast 
aside worldly concerns and enjoy the beauty and serenity of nature. Time to 
snub material comforts and the rapid capitalistic inhumanity of society. Time 
to reject the vanity and narcissism of materialism. Time to gear up! So, there I 
stood staring vacantly at a wall of North Face internal frame backpacks of vary- 
ing shapes, sizes and prices knowing nothing of their benefits or detriments. An 
employee sidled over wearing a $70 Columbia Sportswear waterproof shirt that 
I coveted, but I only had $100 to spend and I needed a backpack. He drew my 
attention to the North Face Badlands 60 (the cheapest pack they had in stock). 


Although it was the only pack in my price range, the name is what attracted 
me. The name is what gave me a sense of security. This pack was made for 
the untamed lands that man is not supposed to visit. This pack, by the very 
essence of its name, was a shield. No matter how bad the lands got, the Bad- 
lands could handle it. No harm could befall me while wearing this pack. 

'Til take it," I said. 

The salesman looked pleased with himself and said, "now, you know, it's 
not waterproof so you'll have to get a rain cover." 

I took my brand new pack to a summer camp where I was set to coun- 
sel and was promptly assigned my first overnight trip. We were to begin our 
three-day outing by catching the Art Loeb trail at Camp Daniel Boone and hike 
over to the pine forest on the other side of Black Balsam for the third day: ap- 
proximately 30 miles in all. Of course it was raining — it is always raining in the 
mountains — but I was ready. Rain gear on, the Badlands filled with a change of 
clothes, Maglite flashlight, writing journal, Catch-22, REI Firefly camp stove, a 
North Face 30-degree mummy bag, a Thermorast ground pad, a Sierra Nevada 
one-man tent, two unbreakable Nalgene bottles filled with water, a Camelback 
hydration system also filled with water, water purification tablets, maps and 
compass, pots and pans, enough food to last the duration of our hike, enough 
garbage bags to waterproof all my gear and carry out any trash we might ac- 
cumulate, and with the accumulated knowledge of five hiker's guides worth of 
"no trace camping" pointers and the official rules and regulations of the wilder- 
ness. We stood on the brink of the wilderness, ready to thrust ourselves onto 
the 30.1 mile Art Loeb trail without a moment's hesitation, ready to feel the soft, 
leafy floor of the Shining Rock Wilderness under our heavy rubber and leather 
boots. The wall of trees towered over and intimidated us. We ventured along 
the thick wall until we came to a break: the trailhead for the Art Loeb path. 
Naturally, there were steps. 

Shining Rock is the main attraction of the Shining Rock Wilderness in 
western North Carolina. The summit is white quartz that juts out of the forest 
at an elevation of 5,940 feet. The quartz outcrop is one of the most popular 
attractions of the Pisgah National Forest. We started our three day outing from 
the foothills of the Shining Rock Wilderness area with the steepest climb along 
the Art Loeb trail. Our plan was to reach Shining Rock in the early evening and 
have dinner, spend the next morning exploring locally and try to reach Black 
Balsam the next evening. We had 15 miles to go, all straight up it seemed. Five 
minutes after our departure from Camp Daniel Boone I was ready to call it quits. 

The rain and tree cover did nothing to reduce the heat. The lactic acid in 
my legs was building up and causing them to burn. We were going straight 
up and the terrain showed no signs of leveling off. I cinched my pack and my 
gut spilled over the canvas waistband. I was fat, out of shape and, worse yet, 
covered from head to toe with the rotting leaf litter and filthy dirt of nature. The 
others, adolescent men with lean, slender bodies (track stars, most likely, at 
their high schools) marched ahead, deriding my slowness. I ran headlong into 

my first dangerous impasse in the wilderness. I could either gasp, undo my 
restricting belt and fall into a heap of wasted organic matter on the wilderness 
floor (and ostensibly roll to my doom down a wooded stairway of death) or 
suck in my gut, puff out my chest and establish my alpha male dominance. I 
could already feel the wilderness affecting me, and them. Their wild, angry eyes 
burned into me, their muscular legs twitched, ready to speed off up the moun- 
tain like a cheetah across the Serengeti. I straightened, my long hair and beard 
twisted with dirt and twigs and protruding every which way in an unruly mane, 
and roared. 

"The group moves as fast as its slowest member," I said, channeling a far 
off memory of some ineffectual cliche spat out in a destructive swath of spit 
and curses from the mouth of a high school football coach, "I'm just trying to 
keep a pace that we are all comfortable with." I hiked off, paying no attention to 
their exasperated objections. We moved on and, one by one as the miles wore 
on, they overtook me until they were nothing more than distant voices carried 
by the waterlogged breeze. All alone, I stripped off the rain gear and heavy 
water soaked t-shirt and ambled on. Unashamed of my body, I moved like a 
machine: a slow, crawling, unstoppable machine. I overtook the group resting 
in a muddy clearing just before a narrow, rocky ridge. This was the wilderness 
and resting was a sign of weakness (and I may be slow, but not weak). I seized 
my opportunity to tip the scales of the battle of wits I had been waging in the 
wilderness. Wet, muddy and half naked I scorned them: "Why the fuck are you 
guys resting?" I moved on without hesitation, ignoring the other counselor's 
reprimand about cursing in front of the campers because, after all, this is the 
wilderness and there are no rules. 

Enctess Keys 

Erica O'Neal 

Craft Prqexjt 

Tessa Brannon 

You stained me, 

changed me, 

left your mark 

on me 

like crayon scribbles 

on the paper 

of my soul. 

I used 

safety scissors 

to cut out 

the parts you had marked 

and glue sticks 

to make a mosaic 

of what was left. 

I had no idea 

that my soul 

was so colorful. 

Thank you. 



John Lewis 

The darkness of the world seemed almost absolute that evening. The only 
spots of light that dared pierce the night were cast from the streetlamps that 
lined the cobbled streets. Three friends walked this night, reveling in their 
inebriation. They were laughing at jokes that would only provoke an eye-roll 
from anyone outside of their little group. Their isolation from the world was so 
complete that they did not even notice as a thick white fog began to roll in from 
almost every direction. 

It was the sound that first brought them out of their reverie. It sounded 
almost like whistling. Faint at first, then it grew, an eerie, tuneless sound that 
seemed to carry a weight all its own. A nervous chuckle fell from the lips of one 
member of the group, looking round to see that through the thick fog they had 
lost their bearings. Paranoia began to set in and they quickened their steps, 
until one of their group began to slow. They turned to call to him to tell him to 
hurry, that the creepy whistling was getting closer. That was when they noticed 
the blood. 

The blood that trickled from their companion's ear, rolling down the sides 
of his hairless head. They took an alarmed step toward their comrade, sud- 
denly feeling very sobered. He fell to the ground convulsing, the shadows barely 
concealing the bulging veins that lined his face. Then they saw it. They saw the 
silhouette, that form that lay beyond the fog, heard the whistle that rebounded 
in their ears. 

All thoughts of their friend left their minds. 

They had no idea just how long they had been running when they felt their 
legs could take them no farther. They looked at each other with panic-stricken 
eyes, wordlessly mouthing their disbelief and shock. If they had been looking 
anywhere else, they might have noticed the small shapes that were skittering 
along the ground toward them, out of the fog that was ever at their heels. 

The taller of the two was taken first. The creatures were already ascending 
his left leg before he even noticed their presence. They moved with an unnatu- 
ral speed as they crawled up his pants leg and under the silk shirt that he'd 
spent more on than he could afford. They did not crawl higher than his shirt. 

The other watched as his friend clutched at his torso, the darkness obscur- 
ing the agony on his face. His body lurched and his eyes bulged. The sound of 
his screams turned to a sickening gurgle as tiny legs began bursting from his 
open mouth. 


The last of the three had fled in terror long before. 

Who knows how long he ran before his trembling legs collapsed beneath 
him; he grabbed for a lamppost to steady himself. His trembling hands could 
not support him as he slipped to the ground to vomit. His head was reeling 
and all the world seemed to be spinning. His thoughts and his vision blurred. 
He gripped his skull to stop the turning, trying to steady his frantic nerves. The 
world spun and spun, and when the earth finally stood still, he was staring into 
the eyes of a nightmare. 

There were no screams, no more running. He could only stare into these 
dead eyes, those hollow sockets as he looked into the source of terror. He 
opened his mouth to breathe, but it was as if all the air was stolen away. An icy 
sweat ran down his body, making slippery his grip on the lamppost that now 
cast no illumination. He could only stare at the darkness, which opened its 
grisly maw. 

The horrible creature's jaw went slack as the impenetrable shadow within 
began to draw breath. The source of the whistling was then revealed, as the 
creature filled its shriveled lungs with its black breath. 

For a moment, time stood still. 

Then the beast let loose its silent, terrible howl. 

The papers would say that three young men were found dead in the street, 
without a mark on them. With no other apparent cause of death, baffled police- 
men ruled it as a case of alcohol poisoning. 

There was no hint of the evil that truly happened that night, of the darkness 
that came to call upon that small city. 

And when the fog rolled in the following night, there was no warning against 
the eerie whistling, nor the terror that would surely follow. 


Cory Knippers 

Die for someone other than yourself; 

Don't make them suffer, 

Make them remember. 

Force the perverted truth down their throats 

And then give them your life to do with what they please. 

We have nothing but our hearts and time, 

And neither of them will last long enough to be enjoyed. 

You need not fear because you are immortal, 

Because you are real... because you are felt by every 

Moment in time and every soul that ever dared to live outside of themselves, 

Not for themselves... but for those they would never know. 

Only dream of... 

We are all together 

No matter how many times I hurt you... 

You will return again without fail. 

You will make yourself better 


Because no one told you you would. 

Because no one knew you would. 

Because no one believed you would. 

And even after it all... 

You will cry. 

And I will cry... 

Because I will know then that you are true. 

Because I will know then that you are safe, that 

No one can ever take anything from you 

Because you have nothing left to give. 

You have given it all 

To someone that will never know you 

And in return they will do the same. 

They will love you and never know your name... 

Qjte Contrary 

Sarah Hunt 


A Vvlndow 

Thomas Parrie 

A brilliant light! As bright as God shone through 

My window, melting the frost as if the glass 

Were crying. The cold faded fast and 

Soon my window was bleeding. 

I held out my fingers and it was warm. 


Can phg Vvlth Ghosts 

Adam Viator 

There were three of us then, intrepid campers casting aside the cozy comforts 
of our parents' homes for the uncertainties of the wild. Nearly a hundred yards 
from my home, obscured by fences and trees and the pseudo-hills of the Mis- 
sissippi River's ancient flood plain, we captured one of the many measures of 
freedom twelve-year-olds living in the country can experience. By day we were 
explorers, venturing for miles upon miles away from home, investigating the far- 
reaching tree lines of the Jeanerette cane fields and paddling our pirogues until 
our arms grew tired. At night we camped. 

Along the Bayou Teche we pitched our tent. Close enough to the dan- 
gers the muddy waters held and close enough to the comforts and securities of 
home, we spent the cool autumn evenings nestled between the small block of 
houses known as Sandager and the old single lane bridge my father still used 
for his work. 

Sitting around a dying fire, constructed mainly of gasoline and rem- 
nants of banana and oak trees, we passed between us a harsh, hastily made 
corn whisky procured through some inscrutable means. We roasted marsh- 
mallows and spoke of such lewd and uncivilized topics that pre-teenagers are 
prone to and, as a result, we either lived vicariously through our older brothers 
or flat-out lied. Eventually, according tothe rules of campfire discourse, the 
conversation turned spooky. 

"Yeah I saw her, you can see rer from my house," said Mike who lived 
in the neighborhood behind my house "she swings all night long." 

I looked to John for confirmaton. He was the older, if not stupider, of 
the group, but was always reliable forthe truth if only unwittingly. "It's true. You 
can only see her when the moon is out." 

"You haven't seen her?" MiM the cajoler incredulously asked. He had 
an uncanny ability to mold any situatbn to his personal advantage and cruelty 
was his preferred method. "Oh come on, you've lived here your whole life and 
never seen her?" It was true that I hadn't seen her; I have visited her grave on 
many occasions and have frequented the swing on many more but the vision 
of her specter eluded me still. "I car't believe you haven't seen her," he said 
dismissively. Angry at Mike's tone, Igave myself a task: I was going to see the 
ghost of the swinging girl. "Watch (Lit for her mother," reminded Mike. 

The conditions set forth by my companions for the successful viewing 
of the ghost were there, albeit not ideal. The moon was out, but only intermit- 
tently; the cloud layer that was present obscured it for most of the evening. The 
air was cold and wet with the first hints of fog rolling off the bayou. 

The grave of Evelin Thompson rested on the opposite side of the 
bayou from where we camped about a half a mile down. She died in 1884, 
the victim of, according to legend, some unspeakable act of cruelty on behalf 
of her mother. Buried on the grounds of what was previously Hope Plantation, 
Evelin is cursed to spend eternity waiting patiently for her mother to find her. 
Her mother, as punishment for her crime (the murder of her daughter in ill-con- 
ceived revenge against her philandering husband), is cursed to wander the 
twisting shores of the Bayou Teche in tearful search of her child, killing any man 
who comes between her and her child in her eternal search for redemption. Ev- 
elin, like any good child, passes away the time patiently swinging on the swing 
that accompanies her grave. One thing was certain: if I were to see the specter 
of Evelin Thompson her mother wouldn't be far away. 

Three routes presented themselves to me from the campsite. The first 
option involves a fence that runs the latter part of the neighborhood down to 
the bayou. On the shore is a small gate completely covered in overgrowth from 
a tree that stands in the water. After a lengthy battle with the branches it would 
be a dark walk through several backyards to an empty, wooded lot that would 
provide the best vantage point. Or, I could venture back toward the house and 
enter the neighborhood and finish my voyage to the wooded lot through nicely 
lit neighborhood streets. The third option was crossing the bayou in my pirogue 
and venturing through the cane field on the side of the bayou that Evelin's grave 
is on. This option struck me as particularly foolish as the other two provided me 
with a nice watery buffer zone from the spirits of Evelin and her mother (who, 
for all intents and purposes, I wanted to avoid). Approaching too near my house 
(and risking incurring the quizzical interference of my parents) seemed equally 
as foolish to my twelve-year-old mind. My mind was set, I would seek the spirit 
of Evelin Thompson by following the uncertain terrain of the bayou. 

I set off a little past midnight, delirious with processed sugars and corn 
whisky, certain my glimpse of Evelin would allow my admittance to an exclu- 
sive club previously closed to me. I found a measure of relief in the knowledge 
that I was not required to search out the weeping woman herself as to do so 
would certainly end in my demise. Also, I was quite confident that neither of 
my companions had seen the mother and, if I was careful and attentive to any 
weeping sounds, and stealthy enough not to be spotted, I could glimpse her 
from across the bayou and gain an advantage over Mike and John. To see one 
of them would fulfill my immediate needs, but to see both (provided I remained 
unobserved) would provide me with ammunition in future battles with Mike. 

I arrived at my destination and implemented my voyeuristic goals. 
Squinting, I could just make out through the fog the shadow of the rope swing 
backlit by the moonlight. There was no sign of Evelin or her mother. As the time 
imperceptibly wore on I imagined what the ghost of Evelin would look like. I 
imagined a small figure with blonde Shirley Temple curls in a white, multi-lay- 

ered baptismal gown, her bare feet acting as a pendulum to regulate her eternal 
motion. Around her an aura of neon orange blurred her translucent form like 
techno music glow sticks obscure ecstasy driven dancing. The swing remained 
still. The apparition remained hidden. 

A thought occurred to me sitting there alone in the woods: what if I 
wasn't truly alone? What if, just what if, there was someone or something there 
with me? If the weeping woman, the murderous mother of Evelin Thompson, 
was cursed to roam the Bayou Teche never to reach her daughter then she 
wouldn't be on the same side of the bayou as her daughter; she would be 
on the other side of the bayou. Abruptly, all the rustlings and movements of 
the woods became agonizingly apparent. The crackling activities of the small 
nocturnal animals venturing from their forest homes to raid the garbage cans of 
Sandager came into sharp auditory focus. I was not alone; the forest was alive. 

Panting and out of breath I emerged from the brambles encompass- 
ing the gate. Mike and John were laughing hysterically by the dying fire. I was 
breathless, scared and red from the brambles and embarrassment at the 
irrepressible fear both the forest and the dark had enlivened in me. They were 
breathless and red with laughter and the success of their peer pressure. 

"Well, did you see her?" guffawed Mike. 

"Yeah, I saw her." 


Tomarow Maning 

Anna Stanfield 

Tomorrow morning 

if I wake up and you aren't there, 

if I must face the day alone, 

I won't know how to live. 

I just could not do it on my own. 

Tomorrow morning 

if I wake up and can't talk with you, 

if I have to hold all my pain inside, 

I won't know how to smile. 

My heart will storm like a raging tide. 

Tomorrow morning 

if you do not whisper your love to me, 

if you no longer care for my life, 

I won't be able to live any longer. 

Nothing else will turn out right. 

Tomorrow morning 

when you wake me with an embrace, 

when you take all my nightmares away, 

I won't be able to hide my joy. 

I will live for you, my precious Yahweh. 

A Lot Lik0 Vvatohing/1 Gar Crash 

Keisha Johnson 

He said it's a lot like watching a car crash, 

Watching me dance. 

But a cinematic crash, 

The beautiful kind that makes you cringe and laugh 

At the same time. 

The kind the director spends hundreds of thousands to make 

Beautiful and disturbing as possible. 

He said it's a lot like watching a car crash. 

My arms flail and my head bobs and my body jerks, 

There's no stopping the impact 

And it puts you on the edge of your seat, 

And my body flashes in the dim lighting. 

He can't look away. 

He said it's a lot like watching a car crash. 
He leans forward and tilts his head 
As he sees another body colliding with mine. 
But he can't move- 
Frozen with fear and anxiety and anger, 
Wanting to take back moments, rewind and play again. 
He thinks I'm beautiful. 

He said it's a lot like watching a car crash. 

Everything moves in slow motion. 

The music amplifies the mood, 

The perfect song to watch a beauty break to- 

It's almost chilling. 

He said it's a lot like watching a car crash. 

And he thinks about how he thinks I'm cinematically beautiful, 

A classic crash to high impact maniacal melodies, 

And he can't move but needs to. 

His heart goes out to putting me back together; 

He thinks I'm beautiful when I dance. 

! Would Run Kites 

Kimberly Cascio 

I can run 

through great green fields with white Keds and not 

worry about grass stains or anthills or knots. 

Deep breaths, heavy breaths. Look, 

I can crush every blade of grass. And I 

I could run and run in the hot sun, 

drenched in sticky stuck on me and I 

could keep kicking through dirt all night. 

Breathe in, breathe out violent. Hey look. 

I could be blistered and bruised and burned and still 

I could do it all, and all while 

my muscles strain and sting and scream. See 

I'd outrun the whole goddamn world forever. 

And I would do all of this to make you smile, because 

deep down 

I am a great selfish person 

with good calf muscles. 


Amanda Sabala 

I cover my window with curtains, 

the sun shaded into a shallow light. 

I place my stuffed animals in a brown box 

and close it. My wall weeps. 

A yearbook is left opened. 

It sits in the only open box 

in the middle of my room. 

Tape that constricts other brown boxes glints in fading light. 

The covered clear glass gives me thick, painful comfort. 

I will lose my familiar room. 

Yellow light that is left sears my walls. 

Handprints have kissed them 

to an aged light brown. 

They are to be painted white tomorrow. 

Detached from this familiar place, 

I am sealed away to be taken 

somewhere new. 


Barry Trumfcte 

Andrew Shirley 

Mrs. Ella Finneran had always prided herself on her abilities as a teacher. It 
wasn't hubris either, as evidenced by the numerous awards and accolades she 
had accumulated over her some two decades as an instructor. The job could 
be hard, but she was proud of her work and enjoyed her students. The occa- 
sional troublemaker had come along; but, all things considered, she counted 
herself lucky that nothing terrible had ever happened. No, she had, over the 
course of her career, very little to complain about. 

That was, until Barry Trumble came along. 

He was not a bad child. If anything, he could have been labeled as too 
inquisitive and more than willing to embrace the unexplained things in life. To 
some, that would be an endearing quality, a sign of a precocious, intelligent 
child. To Mrs. Ella Finneran, it was a threat. She had heard the stories about the 
kindergarten, first, and second grade teachers. 

When Jannie Royal, the first grade teacher, pulled up stakes and moved out 
of town in the middle of the school year, there was silent agreement that Barry 
Trumble was the cause. The source of this belief, many agreed, may have been 
the note left on the Principal's desk that read "No More TRUMBLE!" There may 
or may have not been a string of expletives and violent threats following that 
statement. Accounts varied. 

Missy Howl, the second grade teacher, kept her job, but took an extended 
sabbatical and trip to the Bahamas following Barry's exit to third grade. While 
no one was totally sure what happened during Missy's "island adventure," 
rumors swirled that she briefly associated with a loosely organized Voodoo cult. 
Fuel was added to the fires of speculation when it was revealed that there was 
a room in Missy Howl's house, which no one was allowed to enter. Some said it 
contained dead chickens and shrines to horrors beyond imagination, while oth- 
ers insisted that it housed dirty laundry. Again, accounts varied. 


The odds of coming out fine on the other end of a year with Barry Trumble 
were not good, but Mrs. Ella Finneran was determined to make the best of the 
situation. Her foolish optimism would soon be torn asunder. 

"Mrs. Finneran! Mrs. Finneran!" Barry Trumble's hand shot into the air as 
Mrs. Ella Finneran turned away and grimaced. Taking a few seconds to com- 
pose herself, she turned back to face the classroom. 

"Yes, Barry?" The sweetness in her voice could not have been hollower. It 
had only been a few weeks, but already she had learned how this would play 
out. Barry would say something completely insane, she would attempt to argue 
the point, and he would drive it into the ground until she conceded defeat. The 
brilliance of his plan, if it indeed was a plan, was that he got her to bite every 
single time. She simply couldn't shrug it off. 

"What's the biggest bird there is?" Barry's face was bright and energetic 
- the unassuming face of a child actually enthusiastic about learning. 

She sighed, somewhat relieved. That wasn't an unreasonable question, 
especially given the biology unit they were covering. Maybe she was making 
progress with him. 

"Well, Barry, there are several different answers to that question. The Os- 
trich is the largest overall, while the Albatross has the largest wingspan. And the 
Andean Condor is..." 

"No, none of those," Barry interrupted. "My dad told me about the largest 
bird and it wasn't any of those. Jeez, Mrs. Finneran, aren't you supposed to 
know this stuff? What do they pay you for?" Mrs. Ella Finneran grimaced. 

"And what did he tell you, Barry?" Barry's dad told him a lot of things. With 
the exception of perhaps a single occasion, everything Barry's dad had told him 
had been of highly questionable value. She immediately regretted continuing 
the conversation. 

"Well, he said that in the seventies there was this little kid in Indiana that 
was playing in his yard. He said that the kid's mom was watching him from 
the porch and all of a sudden, like WOOOSH, this giant bird swoops outta the 
sky and picks the kid up! Like an eagle picking up a fish, except this kid was 
like three years old! Just picked him up right outta the yard while his mom 

Mrs. Ella Finneran shuddered before composing herself enough to con- 
tinue. "Well, Barry, that's a very interesting story but I think it's just that - a story. 
If there was a bird that big I'm sure someone would Ve reported it. Especially if 
it tried to capture and eat a toddler." 

"But they did report it," countered Barry. "Lotsa people know about it! They 
found the kid alive in a nest in the mountains a few days later. Indians used to 
talk about it all the time. I think the bird is called the Thunderbird. That's what 
my dad said, I think." 

"Yeah, said after he'd polished off a bottle of Thunderbird..." Mrs. Ella 
Finneran mumbled under her breath. 



"So, anyway, yeah. This giant bird tried to eat this kid! It's a widely known 

fact, Mrs. Finneran. You should really think about reading more often. I saw 
this thing on TV where some people think that it was like a pterodactyl, but the 
woman said when it carried her kid off that it had feathers, so I doubt that could 
be true." 

"So you're saying that the only part of this story, a story about a giant bird 
trying to eat a toddler, that you question is whether or not the giant bird was 
actually a dinosaur? That's the only part of this story that sounds implausible to 
you, Barry?" 

"Mrs. Finneran, pterodactyls weren't dinosaurs. They were winged lizards. 
That's something completely different!" Barry shook his head in disapproval, the 
smile never leaving his face. 

"And Australia is the only continent that is an island," Mrs. Ella Finneran 
said. Christmas break was just around the corner and her mood was lifted by 
the promise of time away from Barry. 

"No, that isn't true." Barry had stopped raising his hand after she had 
stopped calling on him. Now he simply interjected his wit and wisdom when- 
ever he felt it was called for. Mrs. Ella Finneran was too tired to fight it anymore. 

"What isn't true, Barry?" She had always questioned the validity of the 
claim that insanity was doing the same thing over and over again and expecting 
different results. Now she saw that she had become a shining example of that 
maxim's truth. 

"Atlantis, Mrs. Finneran. What about Atlantis?" 

"There is no such thing as Atlantis, Barry. " 

"I really thought more of you, Mrs. Finneran. You could've just said 'I didn't 
include Atlantis because it sank into the ocean thousands of years ago.' Now 
you say that it doesn't even exist! What proof do you have that it doesn't!?" 

"You can't prove a negative, Barry." She didn't even know why she tried 

"Sure you can! Say I want to prove Bigfoot isn't real, right? All I gotta do is 
have someone in everywhere in the woods all at once. If nobody sees him, then 
he isn't real! Only that would never happen, because he is real. My cousin saw 
him on a camping trip one time. He said he saw him push this kid down in the 
mud and steal his sandwich. He tried to take a picture, but Bigfoot threw a rock 
at him and ran off!" 

It had been a good week. Barry had had to have his tonsils removed and, 
though she didn't wish any harm on anyone, his absence had allowed her to 
conduct class the way she normally liked to. On Monday of the next week, 
however, this silence was broken. 

"Now class, while we don't have a king or queen in America, in some 
places they still do. England, for example, still has a Royal family, even though 
they don't have as much power as they used to." 

Barry's hand shot up, but she ignored it and kept talking. "Instead, they 
have a Prime Minister and Parliament, which are a little bit like our President 
and Congress but with some differences." She turned hoping that Barry's hand 

would be down. It wasn't. 

"Yes, Barry?" She had long ago abandoned any pretense of kindness. 

"Well, my Dad says that the Queen of England is actually a Reptoid." 

"A wha...? Barry, you've really got to stop interrupting class with these 
sorts of distractions." 

"It's not a distraction," Barry said. "It's the truth. And my Dad says that the 
reason people like you call things like this a distraction is because you're naive 
and can't handle reality." 

"The reality that the Queen of England is a... Reptoid? That reality is the one 
I can't handle?" Mrs. Ella Finneran felt herself edging ever closer to the breaking 
point. "Ok, Barry, I'll bite. What's a Reptoid?" 

"Well, see, my Dad says that a Reptoid is like a person, only a lizard. Like 
a lizard person, sorta. But not like the Lizardman in South Carolina. That's 
something different. He's like the Reptoid version of Bigfoot. He's stupid and 
chases cars and eats dogs. Reptoids, 'least what my Dad says he heard from 
this guy that used to be a soccer player in England, are smart. Smarter than us 
even. And they can shapeshift and make themselves look like normal people. 
Then they do that and they get into government and try to take all the power for 

"And... And you actually believe that?" Her voice was a combination of awe 
and terror. 

"Well, I haven't seen anything that makes me think it isn't true." Barry 
smiled, pleased with his answer. 

"Right, right... Look, Barry. What I'm about to do is against my better judg- 
ment, but why don't you tell the rest of the class about Reptoids and what they 
do." Mrs. Ella Finneran didn't know why she said that and regretted it immedi- 
ately. Immediate regrets had become a recurring theme in her life post-Barry 

"Well, they're behind all the big empires in history. Rome. England. They 
were behind the Nazis, I think. I'm not sure what the soccer guy says about 

"So you're saying that the real version of history is that lizard people who 
can shapeshift to make themselves look like normal people are actually respon- 
sible for the Roman Empire." 

"Yeah! And World War II! Now you c,_ 

"Christ, Barry." Mrs. Ella Finneran was shocked at what came out of her 
mouth, but let it go when the bell rang to end the day a few moments later. 

"No ma'am," Barry said. He was standing next to her, readying to leave for 
the day. "He wasn't one." Barry smiled and shuffled out the door. 

That weekend, while out doing some shopping, Mrs. Ella Finneran spot- 
ted Barry and his father. Not wanting to be seen, she ducked behind an aisle. 
As the had weeks passed, Mrs. Ella Finneran found herself increasingly unable 
to deal with the observations, commentary, and insights of Barry Trumble. Yet, 
she found herself in a strange situation - He wasn't overtly breaking rules, his 
grades were high, and he was extremely bright for his age. He was capable of 
discussing topics that most in his class had no grasp on whatsoever. 


But he was, judging from his worldview, also batshit crazy. 

Once upon a time, thinking something like that would probably have made 
Mrs. Ella Finneran head directly for the confessional. But Barry Trumble had 
changed that. Barry Trumble had pushed her to places she didn't ever want to 
go again. Barry Trumble. The name alone made her shudder. 

While attempting to hide from Barry and his father, Mrs. Ella Finneran acci- 
dentally knocked over a jar of olives that fell to the ground and shattered. Much 
like a loud noise piques the interest of a dog, so did this noise to Barry. Darting 
around the corner at full speed, Barry hit the brakes upon locking eyes with his 

"Mrs. Finneran! You shouldn't break things that don't belong to you! That's 
vandalism! You're lucky that the cops didn't see that, you'd probably be in jail 

Mrs. Ella Finneran 's eye twitched nervously. She had been blessed with 
good health her entire life, so she wasn't sure if the sensation she felt in her 
head was oncoming apoplexy or just blinding rage. Still, she repressed it to the 
best of her ability. 

"I don't think you'd like jail very much. I saw this movie about jail on Cin- 
emax one night and, let me tell you, there is some weird stuff going on there. In 
this one part there were these two ladies and they were in the shower and..." 

"Barry, I'd like to speak to your father." 

"He's not gonna want to talk to you, ma'am. He says you don't get it, that 
you don't see the big picture. He says he doesn't talk to people that are 'mental 
midgets'. Whatever that means." 

At this, whatever pretense of reserve Mrs. Ella Finneran had snapped. She 
picked up another jar of olives and smashed them against the ground, scream- 
ing. "Mental midget!? Mental midget!? I'm not the one that believes in Reptoids! 
Everyone, did you know that the government is controlled by lizard people! It's 
true! Just ask around!" The original intent of this declaration had been mockery, 
but Mrs. Ella Finneran soon figured out, mostly due to the fact that security 
was escorting her out of the store, that her rage had prevented that particular 
subtlety from shining through. As she was ushered out the exit, the voice of 
Barry Trumble called out. 

"Mrs. Finneran, I told you not to do that! I always tell you, but you never 
seem to get it." 

Scngamo Eeotrio 

Erica O'Neal 

Mind Qxxty&s 

John Stanton 

There are no answers for my questions, 

No sedative 

To ease my suffering. 

She whispers in my ear 

Telling me 

There is no hope, 

No love, 

Just the lust 

And all the evil that follows. 

She binds my hands, 

Bites into my flesh, 

And bleeds me slowly 

So that I feel everything. 

But I can no longer tell if this is real. 

Once she told me it was only as real 

As I made it. 

But now I think she was lying. 

This is a game that dazzles all 

And confuses only me, 

The joke of it all. 

She whispers more to me, 

Knowing I am too weak 

To resist, 

And foolish enough to believe all. 

Is she real? 

Or just another fantasy 

Sent by demons to torment? 

To tell the truth, 

I no longer care, 

For I can feel nothing anymore. 

The world has grown cold 

And the only sensations that come 

Are from the pain she deals to me. 

Bleed me slowly, 

So I can feel everything. 

Tho Wheel Of Th0 Yeor 

Tim Gattie 

Yule - Jason at Birth 

The boom of thunder caused the newborn to cry. The screams of fear raged in 
counter to the welcoming chant of the high-priestess and the echoing percus- 
sion of the storm at the edge of breaking. The old priestess invoked the bless- 
ings of her goddess upon the child as the priestess's consort invoked his god's 
blessings. She looked towards the beaming parents and smiled, glad that they 
were happy with the celebration, even if Jason was not. After all, today was 
not about Jason, who would not remember, but rather about the family who 
treasured this memory along with many others. 

Imbolc - Jason at Nine 

Jason shivered in the cold. He was playing with the snow as his par- 
ents stood with the circle not far away. He was not really sure what they were 
doing, but he knew not to interrupt them. Still, it was really hard not to when he 
saw his father pick up a sword from the table in the middle of everyone. Jason 
wanted a sword like that! His parents always told him that, if he worked hard 
enough, he could have whatever he wanted. He would have that sword some- 
day. After all, what he wanted was what was important today. 

Ostara - Jason at 1 8 

Jason fumed as he drove away from his parents' house: "Why are they pressur- 
ing me into going to this stupid festival? I'm an adult now, right? Besides, I'm 
not even sure I believe this magic crap anyways. Don't they always tell me to 
decide the truth for myself? Why should I bother to care what they...!" 
Just then an on-coming truck made an unexpected cross into his lane. Slam- 
ming on the brakes and swerving off the road, Jason barley avoided death. The 
truck swung back to its lane, accelerating away. And Jason spoke once more: 
"Thank the God and Goddess!" 

Beltane - Jason at 27 

The May Pole reached out to touch the sky before them and all those 
gathered waited in a joyful hush. Jason firmly clasped Ryan's hand in his own. 
Their eyes met and they exchanged a loving smile. The priestess took her long 
piece of silk cord and wrapped the hands of the loving couple. She said a 
simple blessing and the circle, their friends, and their families officially accepted 
the couple as belonging to each other. As the gathering of people cheered and 


expressed their congratulations, the couple was in their own world. This day 
belonged to the new family. 

Midsummer - Jason at 36 

Jason watched as their adopted son and daughter ganged-up on 
Ryan and tried, unsuccessfully, to wrestle him to the ground. Ryan walked with 
a child attached to each leg towards the picnic they had set up. Then there was 
a stumble, the duo had won and their father fell, twisting his ankle to avoid fall- 
ing on the kids. Jason reached into the first-aid kit for the emergency ice pack 
they kept around because they knew that, with kids, it paid to be prepared. 
Soon they were all laughing over the episode. Love overwhelmed Jason as his 
family made his day. 

Lughnasadh - Jason at 45 

Jason stood with his family in their backyard. They had decided that 
today it would be a small ceremony; just the family and the gods. Jason and 
Ryan had sought every moment they possibly could with their children before 
they left. No, not children anymore, they were grown and going off to college. 
Jason cast a blessing of protection on his son and daughter. The four stood 
knowing the necessity that awaited them, and dreaded it. Pride gave way to 
tears and as he finished, Jason sent his final, silent prayer: "Thank God and 
Goddess for giving me these days." 

Mabom - Jason at 54 

Jason stood before the black alter on which rested the urns containing 
his parents' ashes. Tears streamed down his face as he lifted his father's old 
sword. "I commend your spirits to the Crone, to take you and bring you to new 
life. Your body has come from the earth, now we return it." The others in the rite 
came forward and helped to spread the ashes, returning them to the Goddess. 
Tears continued to pour as Jason's lover and children moved in to console him. 
They gave their all to him because, this day, what he needed, came first. 

Samhain - Jason at Death 

Family and friends gathered. The soft music played. The children wept 
and Ryan was too grieved even to form tears. Friends spoke of the moments 
that they had shared and gave what support they could to those still living. 
Condolences were given, but, like most emotional times, words meant nothing 
to those who suffered. What mattered was that people were there as support 
and help for those in need. This was a time for others. This day was not for Ja- 
son, but rather a day for those left behind. After all, Jason had passed on and 
wouldn't know what happened. 





Amanda Sabala 


sweet -faced dove, 

your wings have been clipped. 

You chirp in your silver cage. 

When I open your door, 

you don't hop out. 


soft kitten, 

you've been declawe 

You mew and tumble in a win< 

I try to hold and bandage 

your sore paws. 


most thoughtful angelfish, 

you're in a tank, swimming to nowhere. 

I tell you stories 

of what I did today, 

but you can't listen. 


lady who left, 

you're stuck in a frame. 

Your paint cracks, 

but you continue to smile. 

I polish your tarnished silver frame. 

■■Em^HHR sin 


H 1 


m SS 

EsfiB &%$& BHi 

i aw 







Tessa Brannon 

I thirsted. 

I came upon a fresh clean river and 

I felt blessed. 

I drank. 

I allowed the sweet liquid to enter my soul and 

I found fulfillment. 

I played. 

I waded, splashed and swam in the crystal clear water and 

I grew strong. 

I watched. 

I noticed that the river eventually began to grow dirty and sluggish and 

I felt concern. 

I pretended. 

I acted as though I didn't notice the water had grown vile and polluted and 

I cried secret tears. 

I persevered. 

I stood in the midst of the river allowing the churning water to flow around me 

I mourned. 
I birthed. 
I held her aloft so that the corrosive filthy water couldn't contaminate her in- 
nocence and 
I discovered my purpose. 
I triumphed, 
trudged out of the dangerous water and up the bank, carrying her away from 

the river and 
We found peace. 

The/ Wdting Cnos 

Amanda Roe 


Rexx/hing Cut 

Amber Lee 


hter RexDSuros "The Sparks 

Amber Lee 

Where Do ! Fit !n The Ran? 

Amanda Roe 

Triumph Of Sot 

Amber Lee 


Withh ft/1 

Amanda Roe 


J0!!yf ish/lnd Sngte Nouron 

Amber Lee 


Katie Magana 




IkaA Bister hTho Sun 

Kimberly Cascio 

I knew before anyone else the car would run out of gas. 

I can just sense things. I don't know how it works. My hands get 
tingly, and suddenly I know about things that. . .will happen. . .in the near future. 
In the backseat of my mother's car, I window-watched the white line of the 
shoulder of the road run steadily along with our car. I put my new flip-flops to 
the side as I sprawled my little-girl body over the entire area of the back seat, 
spreading my legs over empty paper bags from the local fast food restaurants. 
Straws still stuck out of week-old plastic cups with Coca-Cola stains fresh on 
the car's lining. It had always smelled like burning death in my mother's car- 
well, burning death with some extra Mexican burritos on the side. 

My mother, in the driver's seat, had constantly rosy cheeks and darker 
skin and wasn't a particularly calm driver. 

"What's that sputtering?! We're slowing down! Why are we slowing 

She forcefully hit the sides of the steering wheel two or three times. 

"What's wrong?" my sister Sarah asked. She was five years older than 
me at seventeen, and fat because she was pregnant by her boyfriend. She 
leaned over and looked at the gas meter while my mother threw her hands up 
in frustration. 

"Mom. When was the last time you got gas?" Sarah asked. 

Mom shook her head. It had been a while. 
"Okay. Just pull up at Alex's station up here," Sarah said. She smacked her 
gum, something, according to my mom, that would help her get through the 
next nine months without cigarettes. 

When the car sputtered and begin moving inches every ten seconds, 
my mother pulled the car into the shoulder and turned the engine off. 

"Okay. Restart the car," my sister explained, but it sounded more like, 
"Okay. ReesTarT thuh cAR," because her accent was as thick as the muddled 
Mississippi River itself. 

In this way, we were lucky: the station was only a few yards away. 
Rosewood was a town of 1 00 rest stops and about nothing else, but this par- 
ticular rest stop was where my favorite sibling, my brother Alex, worked during 
the day. 

In the backseat, I watched the occasional car pass by us with a look of 
concern. A few pulled into Alex's gas station. I wanted the car to sprout wings, 
big, feathered, white wings, and fly us to the station instead of the pitiful, sput- 
tering entrance I knew we'd make. In cartoons, with superheroes discovering 
new powers each day, I wanted it to be our turn, or, at least our car's turn. I 
didn't like being pitiful. The TV stars never had Mexican-food breath in a hot 


\ a sun beaten, barely paved road with faded yeiiow lines. 
We made it into the gas station, and my mother sighed, troubled. She 
~~ck towards me 
"Delia, do you want an Icee?" 
Duh. I nodded. 
"Okay. Here." she handed me a five-dollar bill. "Try and get your brother 


"My god. Mom, it's an Icee. You want some kind of discount? Sarah 
muttered. My mother rolled her eyes and then began unbuckling her seatbelt. 

I opened the back door and, clutching the money in my left hand, i 
_ imed the door with my right. The store was going to be air-conditioned, and 
Iwas going to get an Icee. The summertime heat and hot gusts had sweltered 
up in waves around our small black car with no air conditioning. It had been hot 
and humid for days now, with no signs of the current drought letting up. 
We passed two or three other cars guzzling gas, and a balding man near the 
door smoking a Marlboro who eyed my stick legs in a way that I didn't particu- 
larly like. 

No one in the convenience store cared to give us more than a second 
glance. Sarah found two friends who happened to be in the front of the store, 
while my mom got in line to prepay for the gas. 

I found the Icee machine where it aiways was in the back of the store. 
The cherry flavor machine glinted at me, winking In anticipation. I immediately 
began pouring the cool mix into a cup. 

I was looking for a straw when I felt two hands come around and cover 
jw a sharp audible breath in as my body squirmed, trying to get away. 

"Hey! Hey! Delia, relax, it's me, stupid." 

"Aiex-an-deeer," I said, drawing out his full name with pretend exas- 
peration. I turned and faced him. 

My brother was my best friend. I had few friends at school, and if I'd 
ever bothered Alex, he'd never let me know. Really, he was the perfect brother, 
the family member I idolized. 

"Whatcha doin here?" he asked. 

"Mom ran out of gas. Hang out with me until we leave," I said. 

"I have work to do." 

"C'mon. Just five minutes." 

"Well, as long as you— hey, look. Hollywood just came in," he nodded 
his head towards the front of the store. 

My mother was up at the counter with cash in her hand, but both she and the 
cashier were staring, along with the entire store, at the girl who'd just entered 
ithe room. 

This girl scared me. She was flawless; I'd never seen flawless before. 
The girl was a woman really, with a tall stature and narrow shoulders. Her hair 
A/as short and cut like current Posh high fashion: the front of her ice brown hair 
(was layered and longer than the back, with the longest layers just a little lower 

than her chin. Her hair really was ice brown, like mocha, and it wasn't oily, like 
my sister's, or straggly, like mine and my mother's. No, this was a woman who 
bought her salon supplies from a department store, a nice salon you'd read 
about in magazines. 

I started towards the front of the store. My brother saw me move and 
grabbed my hand to stop me. "Let's not be obvious if we're going to stare," he 

So we both went towards the candy aisle, where she was standing, 
looking lost. I toyed with buying a Twix, while my brother examined the Twiz- 

The rest of the store displayed the tactlessness I would have shown 
had my brother not been so astute. They gawked and gathered and stared. 

We were at a real live stand-still. 

Her eye makeup was stunning. It was artwork— the way the grey ano 
the white blended together just over her eyes, and a little outside her eyes as 
well. Her eyeliner was black and blue, but not the kind of black and blue that 
my father's eyes were after my mother found him cheating. It was done with an 
artist's precision, as if she was going to be photographed, like the eye make- 
up was the focus of the picture. She could pull off her freckles, very light, not 
prominent, but a light dapple across her pretty nose and cheekbones. 

She was a stunner, and about as skinny as I was, as bony as I was, 
but taller than six foot, and well coordinated. Her earrings might have been 
diamonds— I had many fake diamond earrings, and I couldn't tell the difference, 
but here was a girl who sure never wore fake diamond. earrings. She had a mini 
strapless blue dress that flared out right as it hit her thighs, with a medium sized 
bow on the top left side of the dress. 

What jumped out, through all of this, were her eyes. They were a 
blue-violet shade that I'd yet to come across. It was a strange shade, a light 
blue and a dark blue all at once, a little starburst of violet around the iris with a 
light blue main color. 

It's quite an accomplishment to have people staring at you for the right 
reasons. There was such a presence about her that the entire store hushed. 

town so the wild animals wouldn t hurt many people. 

The model turned towards my mother, looking 
counter. The clerk, with his ponytail, zits, and black circles under his 

"Excuse me. where's vour restroom?" the m 

rang high and clear, like a pretty bell. 

"Go towards the Icee machine, the back of the store, on your left," the 
clerk replied. 
He probably just peed himself, I thought, and stifled a snicker. 

The model barely nodded as she walked towards the back of the 
store. She paused by the candy aisle, checking out Kit-Kats, Baby Ruths, and 
Skittles, but thought better of it. It was where my brother and I were still deep 
in thought over whether we should splurge on a 60 cent Twix and/or Twizzlers. 
Alex had chosen the perfect spot. Had I taken four steps ton/vard, I could have 
reached out and touched her. 

When she'd left towards the back, I looked at my brother. 

"WOW!" I mouthed. My brother grinned. 

"She's definitely not from around here, is she?" 

"No. Please go seduce her and marry her so she'll make us famous," I 
begged, only halfway joking. 

"She'd be cradle-robbing. She's at least 25 years old." 
"You shouldn't let that stop you from trying," I went on. "Be creative. Go se- 
duce her." 

He sighed. 

"Nope. It would never work out. I'd fall in love and she'd just marry 
me for my good looks and money, and leave me when the well ran dry. But I 
wouldn't mind her poster on my wall." 

I rolled my eyes and took a sip of my Icee, which was slightly sweating 
now from condensation. 

The Marlboro Man had followed the woman inside, checking out her 
derriere. My sister and her friends were whispering, their eyes following her to 
the restroom. Old men in the corner of the store were discussing her in detail 
and guffawing at some aspect of her outfit, while two older women were ex- 
pressing disapproval. 

"Where does she think she is? L-friggen-A?" asked my sister. 
My mother stood there, her eyes betraying nothing, but her ears eagerly listen- 

"I thought I saw her steal that candy bar," Marlboro Man was telling the 
man behind the counter. "The rich ones are rich for a reason. Poor folks don't 
steal, that's why they're so poor." 

Goosebumps began to rise all over my arms as the hair on the back of 
my neck stood straight at attention. Why didn't she buy something? Who was 
she trying to impress here? There was a snap in the air, a change of atmo- 
sphere, shifty eyes and awkward glances. 

"What'd she take?" 

"I didn't see her take anything." 

"She took some Skittles. You saw it, you just missed it. The rest of us 
saw it." 

"She put it in her dress." 

"Maybe she did take something. Okay, I wasn't looking hard. She 
went to the bathroom for a reason," a man said. 

Immediately I felt this would intensify. I couldn't help feeling more and 
more uneasy with each passing second she spent in the bathroom. 
"Alex," I said softly, "I think they're going to hurt her." 

He looked down at me, concerned. He was still playing with the Twix 
bar, and the murmurs and whispers were filling otherwise dead air. 

"Why would they do that?" 

"I just know," I said. 

"You don't think you're being a little paranoid?" Alex smiled. I shook my 

The man behind the counter said, "Steal from our store? She oughta 
know better." 

The Marlboro Man said, "Put her in a jail cell with me, please." 

My sister said, "She'll get something coming to her. She probably 
doesn't eat to stay skinny. Skinny bitches." 

And my heart just pounded. 

A minute, two minutes had come and gone, and she hadn't come 
out of the bathroom. All of the customers still in the store had gathered by the 
candy section where my brother and I had loitered. The convenience store had 
become a scary, tense place to be; I regretted my Icee, regretted the car run- 
ning out of gas, and regretted going with my mother to the General Store in the 
first place. I didn't want to be here, and I had to be here to see this, all at once. 
I never saw Willy Fremont pull up in his blue and white car, and I don't think 
anyone else did either. All I heard was the little ring that alerted employees 
someone had entered the store, and I remember being startled. 

Willy Fremont was a friendly cop employed by the Mississippi State 
Police to watch out over our town. He lived around here and worked mostly as 
a speed trap along the freeway that ran through our town and passed this gas 
station. He'd caught my sister speeding in our mother's car and he'd let her go 
with a warning, all four times. He was a family friend. 

Willy stood at the door, barely inside. A gust of hot wind slammed the 
door shut behind him. I remember being startled a second time and looking 
out the glass windows all around the door at the swirling gas receipts and extra 
paper, like little baby tornadoes, that littered around the station. Willy looked 
ashen. His sharp features were creased in concern and he never seemed to 
take notice of the odd crowd of twelve to fifteen people that had formed around 
the front of the gas station. 

He nodded his head towards my mother and a few others, a curt 
greeting. "Y'all. Hey. Just wanted to warn your store here," he motioned to- 
wards the employee behind the counter. My brother looked up sharply. 
Oh... what happened? I wondered. 

There's been a fire. A quick brush fire, I realized suddenly. I could almost feel 
the blaze jump over the trees, growing stronger under today's intense heat. It 
was hot. Dry. And, of course, windy. Perfect conditions for a perfect wildfire. 
Firemen had to be all over it, or at least coming to tend to it, if Willy knew about 

I started shaking, tense and afraid. 


"A wildfire," he announced. "Just north of here. It's small right now, 
but we've got men coming down to work at containing the thing. I've been 
advised to tell you to utilize caution around the area." Willy nervously clutched 
a police radio in his right hand. Reports had been beaming in and out, unin- 
telligible police talk of codes and numbers coming in and out with increasing 

"What happened?" The old man in the neighboring aisle began the 

"Is it near Jim's place?" 
"How bad's it gonna get?" 

bo far, the man answered y 

TJe lonS TSfTf' d ' ' nClUdin9 Willy ' watched her - With each steo 

fgrassa smsbsmssS 

Now her head really snapped up. "Excuse me?" 
M e and my friend here saw you take that candy." 
V You re mistaken, " she said sharply. 

she dok a candy to the bathroom and shoved it in her dress° ' 

( „of U ? e me ' but that ' s bullshit -" she said indignantly' 
Check her, Willy," the cashier said gruffly. 

She was startled. "Look, why would I- 

Willy interrupted, "Ma'am, let's just — 

And then she interrupted, "A 50 cent candy bar. Where would I — 

"She stuffed it down her shirt!" One of my sister's friends yelled out. "I 
saw her do it! On her way to the bathroom!" My sister tried to quiet her down, 
but both girls were laughing quietly 

"She must've eaten it," a different woman said. She was near the front 
of the store with her child. "She's got the wrapper stuffed down her brazier!" 

"That'll be the proof!" 

"She probably started that fire, too," a particularly brazen man from the 
front added. 

"Whaa--what?" the girl said again, bewildered. 

"Well, now," Willy said, "There's a couple of serious allegations." 

"Serious? It was just a candy bar," the girl said. 

"So she admits it!" the cashier said triumphantly. 

"I mean, no! I didn't take a candy bar! But— c'mon! Anyone?!" She 
stared wildly into the crowd of people formed around the front. "You people— 
are you serious?" 

We were all quiet. 

"You're serious!?" she half-panicked. She crossed her arms across her 
chest and seemed to shrink. "You're all serious!?" 

"Ma'am, it won't take but a minute to search you and clear you," Willy 
lowered his head a bit to make eye contact. Marlboro Man let loose a 'Yeeah!' 

"Sir, quiet down." 

"Search her right here!" the cashier demanded. 

The smirking, angry faces around her seemed to grow larger and red- 
der. I tugged on Alex's sleeve, petrified. 

"Alex — please. You know she didn't steal anything. It's crazy! These 
people are crazy!" I whispered. My voice was coarse and harsh. Alex looked 

"C'mon, please! Fix this!" 

"Delia, shush." 

"She didn't do anything!" 

"Delia, it's a big group of people— 

"All you have to do is tell them — 

"Delilah! Shut up!" he said, and he stared down at me. "Look at me! 
What am I gonna do? And it's not like they're going to beat her up, or kill her, 
or anything dangerous..." 

I blinked twice and looked hard at my brother. I swear I almost died 
from disappointment right there on the spot. Alex always triumphed in what- 
ever he did. He was Alex, wasn't he? I looked at him in shock. 

"You, you won't help her." I said stunned. 

"No." My brother looked at me, his face hard and strange and scary. 
My mouth dropped open, and closed, and opened again. I turned back to the 
front of the store. 

"I'm sorry, ma'am," Willy said. "Please, allow me to check for stolen 
items. Last warning." 

She bit her lip, terrified. 

"Will you let me go?" 

"Naturally, if there isn't anything suspicious, we are absolutely gonna 
'let you go.'" 

I didn't know about search warrants and unreasonable searches, and I 
doubt the model did either. Honestly I'm not sure if Willy knew anything about 
what he was doing. 

She looked at Willy, then at Marlboro Man, then at the cashier, then 
back at Willy. Her eyes never met mine, but all eyes, mine included, were on 

"Okay," she said softly. 

"Please step over towards the counter and spread your arms, your 
legs," Willy said in a gruff voice. 

Marlboro Man whistled, and Willy started patting her down, giving her 
the once-over. He seized her waist. His hands lingered, rough fingers treading 
flesh. By the time he got to her chest, I turned my eyes away. 

Around this time, my brother grabbed my Icee from my hands and put 
it on the floor. He then took my hands in his, and placed them over my ears to 
muffle out the old men whistling while he led me around the spectacle and out 
the door. 

I know they didn't find anything; I know she drove away. I remember 
my brother letting my hands fall, so the sounds weren't muffled. I remember 
Marlboro Man and Willy and the Cashier's angry tones. I remember my sister 
smacking her gum and telling her friends, "She had what was coming to her." 
I remember meeting my mother's brown eyes, brimming with alarm and dis- 

"Come on, Delia," she said, once she was outside and near enough 
to take my hand. "We're going home. I grabbed your drink," she motioned 
towards my partially melted cherry Icee in her other hand. 

I took it. It felt wrong of me to take it, like I should have just thrown it 
away. Instead, I gripped the Icee tightly and sucked at the straw the whole way 

The little brushfire was eventually fully contained, but only after the 
flames grew a bit. Fires fly whichever way the wind blows. The flames contin- 
ued lapping up trees and burning out leaves for at least two more days before 
it was extinguished completely. In its wake were a lot of loose branches and 
burnt-up trees. A broken kind of forest. 

Nothing was really said about the incident. The sheriff gave Willy some 
kind of official warning for mishandling the situation. The biggest surprise came 
from my brother. A few days later, he told me offhandedly about a Skittles 
wrapper with a few skittles still in the bag being found in one of the women's 
stalls that day, lying out near the trashcan. It was like someone had tried to 
throw it in the trash and missed by a few inches. Was it hers? My brother be- 
lieves it was. I'm not sure. 

Anyhow, I don't foresee any strangers stopping in Rosewood in the 
near future. It's just as well. No one is coming, and no one's bound to leave 
here anytime soon. 

Dustie Guillotte 



"The British are coming, the British are coming, 

So shouts Paul Revere. 

I cannot block them out, 

These voices that I hear. 

"Fear not," I hear the angels say 

To the shepherds in the field. 

I cannot block these voices out; 

Sadly, they're quite real. 

"I had a dream, ... let freedom ring," 

Calls Martin Luther King. 

I cannot block these voices out; 

They will always sing. 

I can hear Atlanta crying, 

As the fire burns below. 

I cannot block these voices out; 

They will never go. 

"Four score and seven years," 

Starts Honest Abraham. 

I cannot block these voices out; 

They're part of what I am. 

Scenes Fronn/I 

Kyle May 

Through all of the days, 

the Eiffel Tower looms above 

calling everyone under the Sun 

to her, this Beautiful City. 

In the shadow of her wonder 

sits a little cafe 

always bubbling with Life. 

Two lovers 

swoon over each other 

as the aroma of their drinks 

delights their senses and 

they swoon over It 

just the same. 

Life-long Friends 

share a drink 

like many Times before. 

Talking about 

whatever stumbles upon 

their Mouths. 

A Writer 

sitting at a Table 

trying to write 

the new Classic, 

a new Story 

that will entrance 

the masses. 

All the while, 

Everyone there 

staring and chuckling 

at the bumbling tourist 

with a map in hand 

and a Dumbfounded look 

upon his face, 

not knowing where to go next, 

trying to Live the Parisian Life. 



Sarah Clarius 

Th0 Efcisilono 

Randall Frederick 

February 3, 1973, somewhere off the New York coast - 

Once, there was a war where three men were told to put their hammers 
down. The gun with the barrel as long as two Cadillacs wouldn't fire without 
the three men pulling the trigger, their hammers down, sweaty and grimy hands 
rubbing against the handles until the coastal village was left plain, wafting on 
the wind. It took three men, a Trinitarian tribunal of three, to deal out death and 
judgment on the innocent, lest the mass destruction be considered inhumane. 
Hey man, one said, hey, man, I don't know how I feel about this. When the 
times comes, I dunno if I'm gonna be able to pull that trigger, youknow? I mean, 
that's... That's some heavy shit, man. That's some heavy shit there, knowing 
you, yaknow... Like you wake up and that's it, man. You dead. 

There is and was nothing like the moral objectors. No way to tell you what 
a conversation like this is like. Even now, the scene plays in your mind and you 
think a thing. But there is nothing like that. Nothing was as simple as that. Each 
man is given a pistol for just such a moment, and told if the guy next to you 
does that, doesn't pull that fucking trigger for whatever reason, well, you shoot 
his fucking head off and pull that goddamn trigger for him. In a conversation like 
that, things can only go one way. Boom. And you better be damned sure you 
do your job, otherwise you won't be so sure about what the guy seated next to 
you will do. 

War is a lot like peacetime in that sense. You can say you'll do a million 
things. Tomorrow we'll go here, the day after there. After it's all done, you can 
say what you could have done, should have done, what the "right" thing to do 
was. But what do you know? What do any of us know, really, when it comes to 
a moment like that? You never know what the person sitting next to you will do. 

Whether you're a gun control technician perched in the lofty tribunal court 
of the gun director, perched atop the ship, or a slant-eye on the island just try- 
ing to feed your kids with a coconut and some rice when you wake up, see the 
guy on the other side of the water out there, and maybe you'll have tomorrow, 
maybe you won't. But you don't know. None of us do. 

On his tour of duty, Frederick made it a policy to keep his hammer 
squeezed. It was the two bastards next to him who were responsible. Occa- 
sionally, he would look through the scope just to see something, anything, and 
he'd see a child or a hut in a village or a flock of chickens or some sign of family 
life. He'd shut his eyes again, lean his head back and just squeeze. The other 

sonsabitches were the ones who did it, he would tell himself. But that would 
change when he retold the story to his therapist three decades later. 

As a gun control technician, Frederick had a reprieve that day, both be- 
cause it was February and because he was on deck with the wind instead of in 
one of the gun director's three seats. What civilians don't tend to know is that 
anyone who has been in the Navy can request to be buried at sea. Frederick 
was one of the ones who fired off a salute with a rifle, then tucked his gun away 
in the gun shaft to change out of his dress uniform. He would be right back to 
clean the rifle, he said to Thimmer. 

The war was not over yet, and the Basilone had returned to New York for 
repairs. Simple things like handrails, C0 2 bottle brackets, and boiler mainte- 
nance. The ship may have survived the tour, but the physical exhaustion of 
war caused her to sigh heavily that morning, a tremor of expectancy pulsing 
through the crew. Neil Young's After the Goldrush had played all summer long 
and through Christmas. It was the only album on board. Guys loaned each 
other their radios to pick up the stations from New York, and it was only a mat- 
ter of time now before they poured out into the city. What did they care about a 
radio, after all? They were gonna get some ass once they docked. 

A ship is a strange community, unique in that it is cut off from the world and 
in constant danger of being attacked and destroyed. Paranoia breeds, and the 
only certainty is that the guy next to you will do his job just like you're doing 
yours, or Boom. No matter how casual a man seems, this is never far from 
his mind. Frederick was thinking about what he was going to do once he got 
off board. Women loved a guy in a suit, but did he feel like playing with them, 
drawing it out? Making them dime on him before he- 
There was a sudden, silencing rumble - the kind that makes everything 
harshly stop, time like a thick marmalade on the tongue, everyone statuesque 
as the brain registers facial muscles tightening and grinding into instinct as that 
moment, that instantaneous moment travels - and then Frederick's head came 
through the jumper, his arms still in the air, waving it into place. He turned, and 
then night fell. Another frozen moment, but moved through more quickly, no 
time for mistakes, no time for anything save the primal survival of men who 
might just be your savior before this was through. There was another soft, 
distant rumble as the lights came back and a generator switched, bathing 
everything in a dim yellow. All of the guys in the quarters looked to one another, 
golden gods and shadowed spirits in the emergency lights, confirming that 
yeah, that just happened. And yeah, it had to be a torpedo. And yeah, there 
had to have been an attack. And yeah, get your ass out of that bed right god- 
damn now, 'cause that really just goddamn happened. 

The pinging of the Claxon siren began and did not stop for two hours. Ping 
after ping. The pings putting everyone on edge, the pings eliciting every instinc- 
tual response, the pings for self preserva-ping-tion. By the time Frederick, ping, 
had moved towards the door, an excited voice began, "All hands-" Ping, "-to 
battle stations." Ping. "This is not-" Ping, "-a drill." Ping. "Repeat." Ping. "All 
hands-" Ping, "-to battle stations." Ping. "This-" Ping, "-is not a drill." Ping. 


He flew up the stairs, each man shoving another out of the way, nothing 
civil about wanting to reach daylight and get to your post. Each station had to 
be at their post for body count, a man assigned to his place was more easily 
counted this way than by yelling a call and response in the John, Hey, you in 
there? Yeah, I'm here. Under such strain, living in confinement for months, the 
brain acts curiously, building apprehensions into realities and repeating those 
realities, rumors whisking from stem to stern, but unlike on land, the rumor is 
the same and not lost in translation. And when a thing is a truth, it travels even 
more quickly as if by providence. Such as it was when the boiler exploded. By 
the time Frederick reached the deck of the ship and saw the neat plumes of 
black there, the four bodies, passing the gun shaft where men were trying to 
force the door open, passing the stench of something that almost made him 
hungry, past Swoyer who - my god, were those his hands? - everyone knew at 
that same moment that while there had been no torpedo, there had been no 
attack, this was not something they had prepared for in their exercises. 

Frederick scrambled up and up, mounting his controls in the gun director, 
shoving the earphones, which could muffle the destruction of villages, over his 
head, the voice from before that had commanded him to his battle station now 
told him, with pregnant pauses, that the boiler had exploded. That there were 
casualties. That he should have died. 

"I'll be right back," he had told Thimmer. "Help you clean up." Clean the 
rifles. Ah yes, a distant promise now. Had that even been today? Moments 
ago? Ah, dammit, where was Thimmer. 

"FTGSN Thimmer." 

Yes, that Thimmer. The same. That mountain of a man, all 6'2", all 295 
pounds, that same Thimmer who had come on board the same time as Freder- 
ick, who wanted to go to college and see his kids again, maybe plant a garden 
and take the kids to a game or two, who wasn't especially funny himself, but 
made up for it with the roar of a laugh, yes, now, that Thimmer. The same. 

"Confirmed dead." 

Thimmer had been leaning against the door, waiting for Frederick to return. 
The door had been shut as a matter of protocol when cleaning weapons, and 
he was making small talk with Fire Technician Kelley, a black guy who got 
excited over black empowerment and didn't feel second rate to anyone as 
the highest ranking black man on board. The gun shaft had been right above 
the boiler, and that's what did it. Heat rises, anyone will tell you that, and when 
boiler three broke below, there was nowhere for the steam to go, but up. Thim- 
mer, in a chair against the door, had been inside the room Frederick had seen 
them trying to force open. 

Swoyer, a boiler technician, had his hands melted off. Literally. When the 
boiler began to overheat, he was the one who sealed the valve to contain it, his 
hands losing all sensation as nerve endings popped and blistered, turning pink, 
then white, then grey, peeling, peeling, until yes, my god, those were his hands, 
those skeletal claws of bone, the skin flapping as it fell off the bone, that sicken- 
ing smell of roasted flesh, yes, that had really happened. Yes, those were four 
bodies on the deck he had seen, with names attached to them like 

BT1 Hearrold, 34; BTFN Raun, 19; BTFN Zajazckowski, 21, and BTFN Hardin, 
that 20 year old boy delivered on board with the ashes. And yes, Thimmer was 
sitting down in the chair, propped against the door, right above the boiler, the 
steam apparating through the metal floor, sealing them in like an oven, yes, that 
same Thimmer, when they shoved that door open, had plopped right onto the 
floor and burst open like a Jell-0 mold gone wrong. That was Thimmer, and 
Death, that last enemy, had its meal before him from the appetizer of Swoyer, 
the entree of BTFN Hardin right down through jellied Thimmer and Kelly. 

As Frederick sat there, the last seat he wanted to sit in, he kept going over 
it all in his head. When he came down from the gun director, he passed by the 
shaft and muttered something that sounded like, "Shouldabimee," but no one 
took notice. All eyes were on the guy who was scooping up pieces of clothes 
drenched in the syrup of ruptured bodies. 

After seventeen hours of information silence descended, but the explosion 
and miles of black cloud and ash were too big for the New York newspapers 
to not spread across the wire. Rumors reached the western coast, losing all 
elements of truth by the time their echo returned, and the families of those on 
board would be visited shortly after lunch the following day by men in dress 
uniforms like the one Frederick had gone below to take off. 

"Yes sir, I'm alive," Frederick said into the receiver. "But let me call you right 
back, okay? I need to call Grammarie. No, I'm fine. Listen-. No-. I promise, I'll 
call you right back. I'll call you right back. I'll be right back." 

Note: USS Basilone DD824 was towed to the Boston Naval Ship Yard for 
repairs immediately. A court-martial was issued against Captain John Townley 
and statements from the men in the boiler room provided evidence that he had 
pushed the crew to an unrealistic point so that he could have the ship partici- 
pate in training exercises scheduled two days following the explosion. It was 
determined that the explosion was caused by three two- inch tubes becoming 
unstable from rapid heating and cooling, causing water to flash to steam with 
superheating and the boiler thereafter blowing up and out of its casing. The 
steam reached above 1200 degrees, becoming entirely gaseous and able to 
transfer through safety walls, floors and ceilings. Eight men died within a two 
minute period, making the USS Basilone the worst non- wartime casualty loss 
for its time. 

.^_ - ., .-^- 



bftag® grandmother 

Katie Magana 



The Machine wakes me 

With the coming of dawn. 

I feel the wires 

Running in and out of my neck, 

Tubes in and out of my chest, 

And I wonder if this is normal. 

The Machine tell* 

For myself. 

I shake this off 

As the Machine provides images 

Of what's right and wrong. 

I watch them in a daze. 

The Machine tells me what's beautiful, 

What's popular, 

What's trendy. 

The Machine tells me 

What to eat, 

When to eat it, 

What love is, 

And when it comes. 

I try hard to look away. 

But all I see 

Is the next generation 

Being wired to serve. 

Sign on 

Plug in 

And watch the world fade away. 




1 1 ■ t.v" 1 






I want to fight it, 
Shut it down. 
But the Machine tightens its hold on me 
And suddenly it's so hard 
To remember the important things, 
The human things 
Like: life, liberty, 
And whatever happened after that. 
I used to remember love. 
I used to remember her taste. 
And maybe that's what drives me 
To break free, 
Pull the wires out- 
Be independent from others. 
I fight the Machine, 
Pull out the tubes, 
Break the line. 
And suddenly I smile 
Because I can't remember a day 
When I felt 
More Human... 



Jeff McAlpin 

As you thumb the pages of the Normal School's 
Annual, made just before Hitler took Poland, 
The past stops soaking into the present 
And stands mirrored and transfixed. It is prophecy. 

You too, oh so young, 

Shall fade away - 

Like these people's lives, just begun 

Did to black, from grey. 

They are regimented into grids, 

Their faces, circles, squared. 

No tears mar their fixed eyes, 

Stoically contemplating a destiny you share. 

They loved and hated and ignored and cared, 
But they passed on their seeds. 
Like a glove, they wore life threadbare 
As ours now wears at the seams. 


Andrew Shirley 

"You know you have no one to blame but yourself," Shade said. "This could 
have been done much more easily. Quietly, of old age, in your warm bed..." 

"Or in a car wreck. Heart attack. Cancer." Timothy's reply was a half- 
hearted attempt at defiance, one that he had neither the will, nor the strength to 
back up. His physical condition had deteriorated to the point that even moving 

s capable of giving. 

'Well, yeal 

-eally think any of those are 

Timothy couldn't argue. He was propped up against a frozen log in the 
1 He of an icy partition, surrounded on all sides by endless white and an un- 
natural stillness that echoed the hopelessness of his situation. What had began 
as an admittedly ill-planned attempt to "get back to nature" had gone very awry. 

His current day had started not much earlier, but after only a few minutes 
of pained walking, he fell to the ground, unable to continue. He knew, though 
he would never admit it, that his strength w~ 
amount of ground he was able to cover wa 
new day. Despite this knowledge, even he was surprised at the speed with 
which the day's journey had ended. Frustrated, sick, and on the verge of total 
surrender, he pulled himself to a fallen tree. Not long after, Shade showed up. 

"Look, I understand your situation here. I really do," Shade began again. 
"Nobody wants to die. You don't know what's on the other side and that scares 
the hell out of you. You're hurting, or at least you were before the frostbite 
shorted out your nerves. You're upset that your family has no idea where you 
are..." Shade plopped disinterestedly on the log Timothy was leaning against 
and pulled a cigarette out of his jacket pocket. 

"You could offer me one of those." 

"Well, let's keep two things in mind," Shade said as he absently lit the ciga- 
rette and took a long drag. "One, you are overwhelmingly convinced that I'm 
not real. Two, if I'm not real then neither is this cigarette. No point in offering you 
something that doesn't exist, right? That would just be cruel. On top of that, 
listen to yourself. You don't talk so much as wheeze." 

Timothy knew that to be true. After several days of uncharacteristically 
labored breathing, he begrudgingly admitted to himself that he most likely had 
pneumonia. He was aware that breathing in this sort of icy environment was 
7 diffi cult even for a healthy man, but in the last few days it had become almost 
" impossible for him to take anything outside of stilted, shallow breaths. 

"God," said Timothy in a voice tinged with cachinnation. "I'm lying here 
talking to someone who doesn't exist, who is smoking a cigarette I can't smell. 
I've totally lost it." The statement was as much an act of deflection as it was an 

"Must be the frostbite, Timmy-boy, because I'm in flavor country." Shade 
put the cigarette between his thumb and forefinger and made a subtle flour- 
ish in Timothy's direction. The sardonic salute was not lost on Timothy, but he 
chose to ignore it. 

"I think the thing that bothers me most," Timothy said after several seconds 
of silence, "is that I know you aren't real and yet you won't go away." 

Shade nodded. "Well, I think the thing that bothers you most is that you 
know you're past your sell-by date and you can't believe you're spending your 
final moments talking to me. Which, to be honest, kind of hurts." 

At this, Timothy winced. In the back of his mind, he had known for days 
that there was no hope of rescue. He had taken a policy of avoidance on the 
matter, however, and had distracted himself with minutiae and the occasional 
ray of false hope. Hearing, or at least believing he heard, the truth spoken aloud 
was a knife through his heart. 

"I saw that look," Shade laughed. "If it makes you feel any better, I'm sure 
you're not alone. I bet plenty of middle-class twenty-somethings die exactly this 
way every year. It's probably the leading cause of death among people your 
age, actually. 'Oh, did you hear about what happened to Johnny? It's a cryin' 
shame. Died pretending to be Grizzly Adams!' Someone should really start an 
organization to prevent this sort of thing." 

"Why are you the way you are?" Timothy's question had a tone that said he 
didn't really expect much of an answer and didn't sound nearly as angry as he 
had intended. 

"Ask yourself. According to your theory, I'm entirely inside your head." 

"Either that, or you're the biggest asshole in the world," replied Timothy. 

"Ha! That's what I like about you, Timmy-boy. You're quick on the trigger. 
Too bad no one's around to appreciate it." Shade tossed the butt of his ciga- 
rette to the snow and ground it out with his heel, lighting a new one as he went. 

"You know, even if you aren't real, what the hell is with you? I'm dying..." 

"And not with much dignity," Shade interrupted. 

"I'm dying," Timothy continued unfazed, "and you're laughing it up." 

At this, Shade threw his head back and howled with laugher. "You don't 
get it, do you? I'm here to remind you that you're dying this cold, lonely death 
because you're a total moron." 

"Let's recap," Shade said as he paced leisurely back and forth in front of 
Timothy. "This is all you, man. Every bit. You made this trip without the gear and 
the know-how. You got lost. The reason you're not going to make it more than 
a day or two is because you screwed the pooch. So you want pity? You want a 
shoulder to cry on? Go to hell, you entitled baby. You deserve this." 

Timothy felt a sudden swell of anger that, however briefly, flooded him with 
energy. Standing, he charged Shade with everything he could muster but on 
the third step of his charge Timothy's right leg gave out and sent him turn- 


bling face first into the hard packed snow. Shade turned towards the fall and 
grinned, shaking his head. 

"Just can't win, can you?" Shade laughed again. "As much fun as I'm hav- 
ing here, this whole thing has just gotten sad. Later, Timmy-boy. It's been real." 
Shade turned to walk away. 

"Wait. . ." Timothy said. He had tried to fight the words and knew it was 
against his better judgment. "You can't leave me here alone. Not like this..." 

"Leave you alone?" The words weren't said so much as cackled. "How can 
I leave you somewhere you've been the whole time? I really don't want to get 
into a discussion about metaphysics here, but there's nobody out here but you. 
Sure, we could sit here and ask ourselves a bunch of questions about what 
defines real. You strike me as the kind of guy that would gladly spend his dying 
breaths doing exactly that. But in terms of what most people call real? In terms 
of someone that can call for help and get a chopper or ranger out here? You're 
totally alone, Timmy-boy, and have been the entire time. But I'm not telling you 
anything you didn't already know." 

Timothy was angry with himself for the feeling of hopelessness and dejec- 
tion that followed these comments. Had he really let himself believe that Shade 
was there? 

"Yeah, I think you did," Shade replied to the unasked question. "And really, 
that's sad, too. But we both know the reason, the real reason you don't want 
me to leave." 

Timothy knew. The second Shade left it would be over. 

"Well, that's too bad, because I'm a busy fella with a lot of appointments 
to keep. Can't keep hanging around here watching you fail at life. And don't 
expect a long goodbye." 

Timothy stared at Shade but said nothing. After a few seconds he mus- 
tered everything he could and struggled to raise his hand. With a barely notice- 
able motion, he waved Shade off. Shade, not unkindly, nodded in return and 
Ihrew his cigarette to the ground. As Shade walked away, Timothy's vision 
'began to fail him. With each step Shade took he became harder for Timothy 
to see. Everything became harder to see. Soon Shade passed out of sight and 
into shadow. 
x Timothy closed his eyes. 


^• : 4 

1 1 1 


**il +ki 

"This Gnome is no More, 
Ho Has GoasocI To Bo 

Carly Maurin 

Randall Frederick 

I don't want to be right 

or convince you of 

anything like eternal things 

such as love will win 

or even argue about it 

there is much more to 

it than that, in the 


if I have to talk you into it 

to make you love me, 

if I have to fight and beat you 

until your black is blue 


being a "good" guy 

isn't enough 

in a world like this 

just wanted the day to be over 

to run out the clock, somehow 

for the moon to come rain over me 

in little drizzles of light between 

leaves and limbs along the path 

illogical as it may have been 

to dance between the lunar droplets 

so the bottle was pulled from the cabinet 

locked as it was moments before 

it poured forth liquid sun, an abundance 

meant to guide through to sloppy slumber and 

howlings at the moon, that dark princess 

just wanted to fulfill my duty 

as a goodly, likable, lonely man 

kind enough to make lunch and 

conflicting dessert with boardgames 

on porches of empty laughter 

until the day is over, duties done 

waiting for the moon 

sipping mango-flavored rum 

mixed with nothing-at-all 

just wanted to sleep 

and never wake to this again 

-whatever 'this' is- 

when sleep would not come 

just wanted to die 

sipping expired rum 

apollo 1 3 

the successful failure 

of lunar missions 

for sample collection 

and windless flags 

never touched 

as the safety hatch was 

sealed and rockets fired 

taking the others bac 

home to their loved ones 

i remained 

the last piece of salvage 

abandoned to creation 

for not all heroes get a parac 

some burn in the atmosphere 

the curse of blessing 
love is a four letter word 
good children of god 
do not say such things 
hush now, hush 

the monk 

he ate a vow of silence when 
speaking wasn't served 
chewing on his cheek 
until it was a mottled ridge 
closely connected to the heart 

husic and meroin 
she played air guitar 
on heartstrings 
with callused fingers 
made that way when 
things got to be too much 

anxious was nervous 
the refrain of hit songs 
beat'ng, strumming, hitting 
all the ripe notes 

m Hi 


'• - 

' H 
. . i 



: H 


all the ripe notes 


birds fly across pallettes of time 

sing-song sing-alongs 

marking musical notes 

taught by callused hands 

on heartstrings 

gay friends are the best friends to have 

gay men are the best 

kind of friends to have 

you don't want nothin' 

from them, they don't 

want nothin' from you 

they balloon into soft, 

effeminate things, giggling 

at all the right things 

that you find funny or 

insulting to tears 

wanting to do things to 

handsome boys, firm jaws 

and devouring phallacies 

just like you do 

such good friends, they are 


' "■■:■-■■• ''■- ' 



Thomas Parrie 

The stone marks the day and 

This hour marks the time. 

Silence is a nightingale and 

She flies on a dime. 

I mark the day with deep 

Sorrow buried in a cold ground. 

I look here and there, but no 

Ghosts flutter around. 

On this day, you are bone and 

Breath escapes my lips like fog. 

The pale fog that curls like fingers 

The opened eye that lingers, and a skin 

That smolders in its ash glowing — 

The only light I'll ever know. 

It grows steady eddies of time 

Ticking time until it slows to black and 

Cold with you in our family's sacred ground 

To be with you, lowered, down to drown. 

I heard you call from a dream 

While I was 'way at sea 

I heard your voice through gulls 

Taunting, as if death were by your side. 

We dance in eternal waters 

In ethereal rivers we 

Drove our ships to shore 

And left to sea no more. 


The LiffloC*! h 

Amanda Sabala 

Sitting behind the plastic and metal desk, 

I look at the other students- so many 

with me in school, wearing black and white uniforms, 

my disowned brothers and sisters. 

I stare at the blank sheet of computer paper, 

uncap my pen, and make a circle of ink on it 

and the ink drips on my hand. 

As I sink into the circle, 

I feel a small pair of hands on me— 

One slips down my throat, 

while my breath leaves me 

as another hand carries my sight. 

My skin hugs me one last time, 

before evaporating to blue flowers 

and my muscles and bones crumple to wood. 

My shadow stays: 
it gives something back. 

Thorns Ncno Rosens 

Dustie Guillotte 

She held the plant seed in her hand 
And willed for it to grow. 
And suddenly, before she blinked, 
The rose dropped to the snow. 

She smiled at the petals 
With sadness shining through; 
And, as they crushed beneath her feet, 
All hope fled from her view. 

Her crimson cloak spread like a fan 
Behind her as she walked. 
She headed to the leafless trees 
Where all night-creatures stalked. 

Her violet eyes did scan the wood, 
Seeking shadows that could leap. 
When the search found no jeopardy 
Into the woods she ventured deep. 

Out of the darkness reached a hand 
That wrapped around her wrist. 
Her fingers curled into her palm 
Tightening her fist. 

She breathed a sigh into the air 

And slowly turned to face 

The one that she most loved and feared, 

Her fiery hell and saving grace. 

He was her dream, her fantasy, 

Her one and only need. 

He was her own worst enemy, 

A nightmare of misdeeds. 

His curly hair matched the night 

From which he once was birthed. 

His midnight eyes could strip her mind 

Cause her soul to be unearthed. 

He smiled at her gently 

But she quickly pulled away. 

She placed the gift in his hand 

And turned to a brighter day. 

She refused to shed a tear, 

As from the trees she came, 

For something that should not have been, 

For love's unpleasant game. 

He stared in awe at her crimson cloak 

As she let him go. 

And though he tried with all his might - 

The rose, it would not grow. 

A Ghostly Mddon 

Paul Adams 

A maiden calls out to the night; 

She prays the stars may hear her plight. 

For her love has gone away: 

Killed her, dead, his heart astray. 

And now she's back, and only weeping, 

While the townsfolk continue sleeping. 

And here she sits and here she'll stay, 

Until her love returns to pay. 

A maiden calls out, though she's dead, 

Feeling pain with a heart of lead. 

Pain and suffering know her well. 

HPr2!t S ' tranSparentareoh ' so Pa'e. 

H~ , 3re S ° aked with unreal tears. 
Her shrieks are what fill children's fears 

And here she sits and here she'll stay ' 
Until a kind word's sent her way. 
A maiden reaches for her blade 
But her hand begins to fade 

For she's a ghost and didn't know 
And now her lover is her foe 
And now comes down the flood of tears 
To retease the pain of ten long years 
And h ere she sjts and here sheT|| ■ 

With memories of that tragic day. 

■ ■ 

■ ■ 



Peigen Drummond 

Unreal your touch 

As you peeled 

My feet away 

From gravity 

Sending me 

Soaring in 

And out 

Of a daze 


With your 

Hands on 

My waist 


I flew 



And space 



With her 

Open box 


I simply 



Spinning Whoe/! 

Amanda Crane 


LaKimbria Williams 

Even in darkness 
With the crickets out, I can still see her pout. 

Lonely sheets, 
For she waits at the door- 
Wet cheeks, 
Heart sore. 


Tessa Brannon 

I helplessly watch 

the disgusting repetitive movements. 

A scratched CD ruthlessly inserted 

inside her at conception 

for Satan's sadistic entertainment. 

The CD disintegrates and dissolves into 

liquid Hell that is regurgitated 

and absorbed by my soul. 

Re-formed into a scratched record, 

it plays over and over and over 

its sinister song of self-blame and self-hatred. 


"Tho 'Pacmedb 

Adam Viator 

My hands clutched the cold, grey metal of my loaded Remington 12-gauge 
shotgun and my finger gently twitching over the trigger. The paramedic stood 
on the opposite bank, towering over me. His poorly trimmed beard and frumpy, 
shapeless Pillsbury body betrayed the authoritative image he meant to project. 
But the initial comedy of his physical features quickly obscured once we locked 

js meant business. His eyes con- 
jft. ' 
"Hey," he said. My eyes remained locked with his. "Hey," he said 
louder, shaking me out of my gaze. He drew my attention to his belt. Holstered 
there was a sleek black pistol. His presence made abundantly clear, he felt 
the need to elaborate further on his intentions. "This," he said pointing at the 
holstered weapon, "is a nine-millimeter. I have fifteen rounds in the clip and one 
in the chamber." 

This struck me as a rather stupid thing to say. Rehearsed, perhaps, in 
front of the mirror illuminated by the soft, electronic glow of Jean Claude Van 
Damn kicking somebody's face in. 

"Are you threatening us?" My 1 5-year-old mind reeled with the possi- 
bilities of what was happening. Who was this doughy man and why did he feel 
the need to spout action movie cliches at me? Was he going to shoot without 
provocation or orate his ridiculously circuitous plan for world domination and 
the murder of countless British superspies? But his answer was much less 

I "My daughter is playing in the backyard." 

1 What did that have to do with his being here? "What does that have. 

"My daughter is playing in the backyard," he cut me off, "and yoi 
looting shotguns." I searched for the words. A snippy comeback. A defiant 

Mi impassioned defense. But I had not seen this man before. Where had h< 
ime from? Where did he live? 

/ He turned, hand still on his gun, and pointed through the trees. Past 

trie woods, past the neighborhood septic pond, past more woods was the hint 
/of a house: a white beam, a few grey shingles and a half a dozen white bricks. 
" house was just completed a few weeks ago; I had no idea anyone had 
/ jd in yet. The house was far away, too far away really. I didn't know much 
aV\ 5-years-old but I did know the air speed velocity of shellfire and I knew the 
^wind resistance, forest barrier and 100 yard distance from the pasture to the 
paramedic's home would preclude any pellets fired from a shotgun from com- 
I remotely near the backyard where his daughter played. I knew the shotgun 
fire lost it lethality at 40 yards. I knew descent patterns and flight angles of the 

pellet spread from when I shot my brother five years ago and remembered 
vividly his mild annoyance as the pellets rained down on his head. I knew, I just 
knew, the paramedic was full of shit and that his decision to leave his daughter 
and wife in a huff to retrieve his weapon and venture into the woods to threaten 
a couple of 1 5-year-olds was some misguided sexual display that would invari- 
ably result in another daughter. 

"Oh come on," my bravery coming back to face the ridiculousness of 
the situation. 

"Shut up!" he bellowed, tensing his hand over his gun. "You should 

"You lost any chance of that when you threatened me." 

"And you lost any chance when you shot at my daughter," he respond- 
ed in the finest tradition of elementary school playground rhetoric. 

"Are you an idiot or just an asshole?" I asked, fear being replaced | 
with something far more dangerous. A warm, shaking, tearful rage welled u 
from my chest and shot down my arm to the tip of my trigger finger. His hamd 
twitched and my hand tightened around the stock of my shotgun. 

He said, calmly, "Don't talk to..." 

"Fuck you." A thousand contingencies flooded my mind all at once , a 
picture show of violence and gore. Blood-spattered outcome after blood-spat- 
tered outcome, the paramedic in desperate need of an ambulance, Sanda<jer 
Canal carrying my blood out to Bayou Teche. He had a nine-millimeter. He lad 
fifteen rounds in the clip and one in the chamber. He could draw and fire all of 
his rounds and Swiss cheese my chest. By all accounts, he had the strateg c 
advantage: the high ground. He stood above me on solid ground where he 
could shoot all day and not lose his footing. With one leg in a pirogue and cne 
leg sinking steadily into the porous mud of the canal bottom, one shot from my 
gun would send me tumbling into an embarrassing, muddy and bullet^riddei 
headline in tomorrow's paper. 

I, on the other hand, had a shotgun: a lethal spread of me tal pellets 
fired out in an explosion of gunpowder and plastic. It is a close-qi arters weap- 
on, a defensive weapon, and I was on the defensive. He would he /e to draw, 
aim, and shoot while all I had to do was rotate slightly and fire. Nc hesitation, 
no aiming. If I could fire in his general direction the pellets would r< duce hj/ri to 
ground meat. This motherfucker didn't stand a chance and when lis wife ano 
daughter stand at his closed casket and weep into their veils, ther he would 
know conclusively that you don't fuck with Adam Viator. \ 

"Fuck you!" His creativity knew no bounds. \ 

"What you going to do? Shoot me with your BB gun?" V 

"Son this..." \ 

"Oh yeah. 'It's a nine millimeter, fifteen in the clip and one n the cham- 
ber,'" I mocked. "Well I've got two in the clip and one in the cham >er. And, olfi, 
it's a shotgun." I had rehearsed this and felt it came off rather well If one were 
to fight off a stupid, contrived comment about a pistol one would need- a stu- 
pider, more contrived retort to stay competitive. After all, I had the bigger gun. 
I flicked the safety off. A , 

The paramedic's hand tightened on his nine-millimeter. I had time. He ^ 

would need to unfasten the snap on his holster, draw the weapon, point it at 
me, pull the hammer back, aim and shoot. I just had to swing. Just swing and 
pull the trigger. Swing. Trigger Boom 

Dozens of tiny red spots appeared on the paramedic's chest. An explo- 
sion of blood and cloth and synthetic down sprayed from his jacket. The pellets 
tore through his clothes and skin, shredding fabrics and epidermis. The leaves 
and branches and muddy water absorbed the report. The shotgun cried out its 
death cry and was silent. The paramedic was silent. My friend John was silent. 
All was silent. 

I was outside my body, looking at the surreal scene before me. I saw 
John's features twisted with fear and guilt, watching as the paramedic's life 
oozed out of his chest. I saw the paramedic wordlessly gasping for comfort 
or forgiveness or air. I saw his daughter, playing quietly, waiting for her father, 

r breathless. I saw myself, changed, morphed, aged. Eyes deep and know 
ing. Nonexistent muscles rippling. The hint of a beard on my jaw No remorse 
existed in the eyes of this idealistic image: the warrior I've pictured myself so 
many times being, an appalling corruption. 
I flicked the safety on. 

The paramedic drew and fired. The right side of my chest exploded. 
Then the left. The third hit my arm, grazing past sucking blood in its path. I was 
outside my body again, looking on as I tumbled into the canal. The paramedic, 
eyes ablaze with a father's fury, kept his gun trained on me as I fall. He turned 
the weapon on John and fired again. And again. ! saw John fali. I watched as 
my body, floating upright, slowly sought the waters of the bayou. I saw the 
blinking red lights of rescue and police vehicles, the paramedic being loaded 
into a police car, the tragic irony of a paramedic with blood on his hands sinking 
in. I saw my mother in panicked tears, my father's stoic pain. 

"Look," I said, weary of the paramedic and displeased with the out- 
come of my imaginative simulations. The latter situation I felt more likely and 
more ih keeping with what little I'd seen of the paramedic's character. "I'm not 
keen oh getting shot today." 

\ "You should have thought about that before you shot at my family : 
"You make it sound like I walked into your backyard and started firing 
Be sidei," I said, defiance exchanged for defense, "there's no way anything 
cc jld have gotten through those woods. This thing wouldn't even hurt a fly 
aft ?r forty yards." 

(Searching for validation for this fact I settled on another instance of my 
" idvice. Always strategizing, he would spread us out to keep 
\ group of doves would fly toward one of us and then, if (when, 
nissed, the doves would turn and fly toward someone else. E 
jr, ever/closer to one another than forty yards 

n wasn't buying it so I lied. "And we weren't even shooting in that 
ctigfi. We were over there, shooting in that... that direction." I pointed a 
nmittal finger somewhere in the general direction that was not the para- 

Then, against all expectation and laws of reality and physics set fort!" 

by the action movie, the paramedic left anticlimactically. He didn't draw his 

weapon, he didn't fire warning shots, and he didn't even make a speech. He 

just came, threatened and confounded us with his circular logic. He sidled 

up silently and left silently with a cryptic warning, "watch where you fire those / 
. i • I* i 

I couldn't tell if it was a threat or a fatherly word of advice. I had hearc 
my father use that phrase countless times in concern for our safety. Those / 
words, coming from the paramedic, panged of a violation. To use my fathers 
words with an unspoken "or else" was the most offensive thing the paramedic 
could have said to me. I reached for a response as he walked away but I was 
too slow. I reached into the long buried memories for the appropriate emotional 
response and drew from the only reliable source I knew: the action movie. He 
may have won the battle but the war was far from over. 

"Wait until my parent's hear about this," was my final threat, made to 
the shrinking back of the paramedic as he walked away. 

"He pulled a gun on you?" 
"Well, not exactly. He threatened us though, said he would shoot us if 
we shot at his house again." 

"Sonny, do something." I 

"I'll go talk to him." 

When my father came back from the paramedic's house to fetch Jphn 
and me so we could make our apologies, my murderous-commando-alter^ego 
whimpered out of existence. My father had turned to the dark side, choor 
off my commando's arm and threw him down a conveniently place 
abandoned me to the altruistic mercy of the paramedic. > j 

He explained that, as a paramedic, he would see these things all the 
time where a careless teen with a shotgun would shoot his friend or himsfl 

ifety and he was mere ' 
in the best interest of everyone involved. As the paramedic explained to my\fa 
ther how he merelv overreacted when he heard the qunshots outsof the fethl 

or John), the humiliatioi 
was sealed forever. My 
had won. 

latred of 

Standing outside the home of the owners of the field where we lad beenlhun 
ng squirrels, my father goaded us to the door. An elderly couplaanswerep 01 
<nocks. I 

"Hi, urn, we were hunting in your pasture..." 
"Yeah, we see you two over here all the time." 
"Well, we're supposed to apologize for doing that." 
"We don't mind if y'all hunt over here." 
"Someone does. He objected strongly with a nine-millijhetek" 
"Who?" / 

"Some paramedic. Just moved into the neighborhood!' , 
"We've met hir 


i aKimbria Williams 

Dimples in a smile after a lover's chase 

And the dance of feet to a heartbeat, 

One feeling the air could misplace. 

Slam of a shut door, crash from a broken plate 
And cry from ; 
One story the wind would tell too late. 

A picture of a happy you and a happy me 

Wrapped up in a broken frame, 

If only one looked in the window they could see. 

Everything we were, and now who we are, 
From sunshine, to rain, to snow, 
What started out small became large- 
While I refused to look in the window. 

Winds a The/Past 

Kyle May 

The Wind whipping all around^ 

On one Dark and Dreary Evening. 

It picks up speed. 

And then like a brick wall, 

It hits. 


ciworv moment, 

Every time 

Was Never in vain. 

I enjoyed every minute. 

Best of Friends, 

Through and Through 

Til the end. 

Like a wake up call, 

The Wind snaps me back 

To Reality. 

I guess I'll be living mine 

Just like you Yours. 

The Wind whipping all around me 

On one Dark and Magnificent Evening. 

It picks up speed. 

Ha'.: <V"1 





&ia ^ . 






Jeremy Richtofen 


Stockholm Syndrom® 

Keisha Johnson 

We live under /he carefully placed together shrapnel ol _broken 
/ hearts and busted dreams. 

/ You should see what we see. 


/ Pain placed in glass cases held on top shelves, 
/ kept dusted and polished. 

/ / / Things nobody lets go of . 

/ / Heart breaks and scars. 

/ broken records and fountains of tears shed - 
/ / They remind you that we all hurt. 

/ / / And we all try to laugh it off . 

/ / Every/one knows it's either laugh or cry. 

/ / J In the end, 

II I You're still touched. 

I I Tainted. 

We r/e unier the carefu/ pieced together shrapnel of broken 
We we unuer jy ^^ ^ ^^ &emS . 

/ YoJ can hear the/gritty resonance against stained walls. 

/ Thire are voice/that echo forever in the recesses of our 
I r I nuncio. 

/ Voiis that somiimes gather enough volume to sting your 

l vw.v>v, j e y es a g a | n 

/ / Voices that won't let go. 

In this r/ouse filled with black and blue peeling walls, 

/ cracked windows and doors, 

f\ I bare closets and cabinets, 

/ / empty picture frames and book shelves. . . 

/ / A cold house that cries and quivers 

/ \ /when the wind blows and hits everything inside. 

e live under the carefully pieced together shrapnel 

of broken hearts and busted dreams 

And there's no place like home.